Infant Journal
for neonatal and paediatric healthcare professionals

National Child Mortality Database publishes its latest report

The Contribution of Newborn Health to Child Mortality Across England, published by the National Child Mortality Database (NCMD), aims to understand patterns and trends in child deaths where an event before, or around, the time of birth had a significant impact on life, and the risk of dying in childhood.

Based on data collected from April 2019 to March 2021, the report found that for babies born alive, at or after 22 weeks’ gestation, who subsequently died before 10 years of age, half of the deaths occurred in children over one month old. Other key findings include:

  • Children who received neonatal care after birth made up 83% of children who died before their first birthday; 38% of deaths in the next four years, and 27% of deaths between the ages of five and nine.
  • There is a clear association between childhood death following neonatal illness and learning disabilities. Over half of the children who died also had learning disabilities.

  • For child deaths reviewed by a Child Death Overview Panel and categorised as a perinatal/neonatal event, modifiable factors were identified in 34% of deaths. 20% identified a modifiable factor within the characteristics of the child, including pregnancy factors. The most common factors were smoking in pregnancy or the household, and maternal obesity, both of which increase the chance of premature birth and complications for the baby.

The report makes a number of recommendations including a call to make the prevention of preterm birth a priority, stating that social initiatives to reduce or mitigate the social determinants (eg smoking, obesity and deprivation) should be given resources and support.

To read the NCMD report visit:

The report calls for social initiatives to prevent preterm birth.