With good reason, considerable attention is paid to infant mortality. However the review of fatalities among all children under 18 represents an opportunity to make meaningful changes in Hamilton County. This is the conclusion developed by Hamilton County Public Health and the Hamilton County Child Fatality Review Team in its annual report.
From 2010-2014, the years covered in the report, one child died every three days from a variety of causes. What’s more, sub-populations were disproportionately affected by child deaths.
For instance, male children accounted for more than 60 percent of these deaths. Three of every five child deaths in the County were to non-Hispanic, black children. Child deaths were also heavily concentrated in the urban core of the County.
Socio-economic and demographic factors, such as poverty and the community in which a child lives can influence child deaths. Areas of concentrated disadvantaged experienced the highest rates of child fatality. Concentrated disadvantage is defined by a number of factors, including percent of individuals: below the poverty line; on public assistance; in female-headed households; and unemployed.
Causes of death studied in the report include accident, homicide, suicide, natural and undetermined. The overwhelming percentage of child fatalities occurred from natural causes, including congenital abnormalities, genetic disorders, cancer and pre-term births.
The report classifies deaths under measures of preventability. A child death is classified as preventable if the circumstances that caused the death could have been changed by a parent, individual or the community.
“There are few outcomes more tragic that the loss of a child,” according to Tim Ingram, Hamilton County Health Commissioner. “Reducing these deaths requires collaboration between public health, healthcare systems, physicians, clinics and other support sources affecting social determinants of health.”
The Hamilton County Child Fatality Review Team officially began reviewing cases in 1996. In 2000, the Ohio General Assembly established the Ohio Child Fatality Review program to better understand why children in Ohio are dying. The law mandates that every Ohio county create a board to review all deaths of children under 18.
The Hamilton County Child Fatality Review Team represents public health, job, family and mental health service agencies, coroners, healthcare providers/systems, first responders and law enforcement. The team screens all deaths of children under 18 who are residents of Hamilton County at the time of death. Reviews involve an in-depth examination of each death and its inherent factors.
You may read our Child Fatality Reviews on our Reports page.
Posted by: HCPH