While the number of deaths caused by child abuse or neglect is falling in Florida, officials believe that far too many children are dying because of easily preventable abuse. One hundred and ninety-two Floridian children died from abuse or neglect in 2009, down from 201 in 2008. Many of those deaths aren't caused by intentional abuse, but by parents who are negligent in providing safe conditions for their offspring.
Drowning was the highest cause of death, followed by child abuse and unsafe sleeping conditions.
"Unsafe sleep conditions occur when infants are placed on their stomachs for sleeping where pillows, blankets or other items in a crib create a suffocation hazard, or when a parent shares sleep space with an infant and suffocates a child," reports Florida Today.
Deaths stemming from parents leaving children unattended in cars are also on the rise. Officials believe dozens of these tragedies could be easily preventable by more vigilant parents.
"There's more abuse via neglect than there is actually homicides, beatings," said Chuck Biehl, director of the child protection team for Children's Advocacy Center, tells Today. "We must remain vigilant in the supervision of children. It's just not good enough to say it was only two minutes while I answered the phone while there's a swimming pool."