Preventing Child Deaths: Learning from Review

Preventing Child Deaths: Learning from Review

Preventing Child Deaths: Learning from Review

Preventing Child Deaths: Learning from Review


Up to half of all deaths of children and young people are from non-natural causes. Evidence suggests that a significant proportion of these deaths, which are the result of accidents, suicide, sudden unexpected deaths in infants or homicide, may be preventable. This book investigates the main causes of unexpected deaths of children and young people in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada and considers how we might attempt to prevent future deaths. Mechanisms for reviewing child deaths vary within and across countries. Some countries focus on reviewing only those deaths which result from abuse and neglect, or deaths of children known to child welfare agencies; others take a wider public health approach, involving a review of all child deaths. Drawing on the findings from a study of child death review processes across three continents Sharon Vincent assesses the effectiveness of different review mechanisms and identifies good practice in relation to prevention. The book will inform professionals, policy makers and academics working in the area of prevention of child deaths, injury, and maltreatment. It will prove a useful resource for anyone who is training to work with, or who is already working with, children and young people and their families.


Child death review

The focus of this book is child death review (CDR) and how the learning from cdr can help us prevent child deaths. Children rarely die, but when they do it is extremely tragic and we have a responsibility to families and communities to find out why they died. cdr, or child fatality review (CFR) as it is sometimes called, enables us to do this.

Evidence suggests that significant proportions of child deaths may be preventable (Pearson, 2008). By examining the circumstances of individual cases where children have died we can define the issues, identify risk and protective factors and develop effective prevention initiatives to help us prevent other deaths in the future (Christian and Sege, 2010).

Child death review is a multi-agency process that systemati
cally collects data concerning the biological, behavioural,
environmental, and social determinants of injury over the
child’s life course. Child death review is therefore capable of
generating the broad spectrum of data required for an eco
logical understanding of preventable child mortality, which
recognises individual, community, and societal factors that
interact at different levels to influence child health and well
being (Desapriya et al., 2011).

The aim of the cdr process is to create a shared understanding of the circumstances leading to a child’s death (Johnston and Covington, 2011). Multi-disciplinary review teams request and review records from agencies that had contact with the child or their family; they may also seek information from family members or from the community in which the child lived. After reviewing all the information from multiple sources they come up with findings, make recommendations . . .

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