Public Health England urges action to reduce preventable child deaths

In a report launched on 1 August, Public Health England (PHE) calls for action to reduce preventable child deaths, warning that too many children and young people die unnecessarily each year.

The report reveals:

  • Transport accidents and other accidental injuries comprise two of the top six causes of avoidable deaths in children and young people, making up over 25% of the total. 
  • Unintentional injuries in and around the home are a leading cause of preventable death for children and a major cause of ill health and disability.
  • On average, 72 years of potential life is lost for each child or young person who dies from avoidable causes.

(Avoidable deaths are those defined as preventable i.e. they can be avoided by public health interventions).

Accidents on the roads

Looking at road traffic injuries, page 16 of the report reveals:

  • 7 children are killed or seriously injured on Britain's roads every day.
  • There would be 936 fewer serious or fatal injuries to child pedestrians and child cyclists annually if all children had a risk of injury as low as children in the least deprived areas.

Actions to reduce preventable child deaths from accidents include:

  • Providing safe environments for children and young people inside and outside their homes.
  • Increasing awareness of the risk of accidents and providing accessible information on ways of minimising these risks.

Raising awareness and providing accessible information

Dr Marilena Korkodilos, a paediatrician and child health lead for PHE’s London region, said:

“The death of any child or young person is tragic, and it may come as a shock to hear how many of these deaths are preventable. While numbers have reduced over recent years, too many children and young people die unnecessarily.

“By raising awareness of preventable deaths and providing accessible information on how they can be reduced, we can educate parents, guardians and health professionals and reduce child mortality.”

Support from CAPT

Accessible information from CAPT

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Four booklets cover key developmental stages from new-borns to pre-school:

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Updated September 2016