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Why children die: death in infants, children and young people in the UK, 01/05/14 [E/NI/S/W]

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, National Children’s Bureau and British Association for Child and Adolescent Public Health have published a report on child deaths in the UK.

This review of existing UK evidence on child mortality found that thousands of children in Britain are dying prematurely because of a growing gap between rich and poor. The wealth gap, combined with a lack of targeted health policies to tackle child mortality, means Britain lags behind its Western European counterparts. Every year, an estimated 2,000 children - five a day - die in the UK, compared to the best performing country, Sweden.
Key findings include:

  • In 2012 over 3,000 babies died before age one and over 2,000 children and young people died between the ages of one and nineteen;
  • Over half of deaths in childhood occur during the first year of a child’s life, and are strongly influenced by pre-term delivery and low birth weight; with risk factors including maternal age, smoking and disadvantaged circumstances;
  • Suicide remains a leading cause of death in young people in the UK, and the number of deaths due to intentional injuries and self-harm have not declined in 30 years;
  • After the age of one, injury is the most frequent cause of death and over three quarters of deaths due to injury in the age bracket of 10-18 year olds are related to traffic incidents.
The report highlights the importance of access to high quality healthcare for children and young people, calling for a reduction in preventable deaths through better training of healthcare professionals to enable confident, competent, early identification and treatment of illness, and better use of tools such as epilepsy passports, asthma plans and coordinated care between hospitals and schools.

For full details see the RCPCH website.

Further Information

Why children die: death in infants, children and young people in the UK