Child mortality refers to the number of deaths of children in any given year per 100,000 population. The primary causes of mortality vary between different stages of childhood.
The majority of deaths between the ages of 0 and 5 years of age occur within the first year of life, with the highest risk of death being in the first month4. The main causes of death between the ages of 0 and 5 years include conditions originating in the perinatal period, congenital diseases, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, injury related to traffic accidents, drowning and accidental threats to breathing, and cancer 1.
In addition to the personal consequences of the death of a child on individuals in Western Australian communities, child mortality can be used as an indicator of the health of a population due to its association with a range of social and economic factors2, 4, 5. Child mortality is associated with social and economic disadvantage, access to health care, nutrition, hygiene, sanitation, maternal education, unemployment, community awareness of child mortality risk factors, and immunisation programs 2, 4, 5.
Child mortality is an important indicator for health providers and policy makers to inform policy, strategy, and intervention, providing insight into the health of young children as well as the broader population1. The importance of child mortality statistics is amplified by the knowledge that many of the causes of death in this period, such as traffic accidents or accidental drowning, are preventable1.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [Internet]. Canberra ACT. Australia's Health 2016; Chapter 5.3 How healthy are Australia's children? 2016 [cited 2018 May 15]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/australias-health-2016/contents/summary
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [Internet]. Canberra ACT. Infant Mortality: Mortality rate for infants less than 1 year of age. 2017. [cited 2018 May 15]. Available from: http://analytics.aihw.gov.au/Viewer/VisualAnalyticsViewer_guest.jsp?reportPath=%2FAIHW%2FReleasedPublic%2FCHI%2FReports%2F2017&reportName=Infant%20mortality&reportViewOnly=true&viewerMode=modern&commentsEnabled=false&propertiesEnabled=false&appSwitcherDisabled=true
- United Nations Population Division [Internet]. New York NY: United Nations; 2017. Levels and Trends in Child Mortality Report 2017 [cited 2018 May 15]. Available from: http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/publications/mortality/child-mortality-report-2017.shtml
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [Internet]. Canberra ACT. Deaths in Australia. 2017 [cited 2018 May 15]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/life-expectancy-death/deaths-in-australia/contents/life-expectancy
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [Internet]. Canberra ACT. Making progress: The health, development and wellbeing of Australia's children and young people. 2008 [cited 2018 May 15]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/children-youth/making-progress-the-health-development-and-wellb/contents/table-of-contents