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PHOENIX -- A new report showed child deaths increased in Arizona last year after seven years of declines.

The annual report from the Arizona Department of Health Services was released Wednesday and showed 854 children under age 18 died in the state, a 2 percent increase from 2011.

Of non-natural deaths, those from firearms increased most dramatically, jumping from 23 in 2011 to 32 last year. Fifty-three percent of the gun deaths were suicides.

Child fatalities because of maltreatment or abuse decreased slightly from 71 deaths in 2011 to 70 last year, while drownings increased by four to 36 and vehicle accident deaths to 88 from 70 in 2011.

Teams review each child death in the state, including natural deaths, to determine if they might be preventable. Thirty-four percent were deemed preventable.

Associated Press,

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