On 27 November 2023, the Biennial report of the deaths of children in New South Wales: 2020 and 2021, incorporating reviewable deaths of children, had been tabled in Parliament. The report details how infant and child mortality rates in NSW fell between 2007 and 2021.
The decline has occurred across most causes of death – including from natural causes and external causes such as transport, drowning and other unintentional injury-related causes. The infant (under 1 year) death rate decreased by 28% and the death rate declined by 24% for children aged 1 to 17 years. However, the falling infant and child mortality rates are not equal across some groups or across NSW.
‘It is pleasing to be able to report that infant and child mortality rates in NSW are, overall, continuing to decline in NSW,’ said Mr Miller. ‘However, there remains much more to be done to prevent the deaths of children in NSW.’
‘There continue to be significant inequalities in mortality for some children. Consistent with previous reports, children from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, those living in regional and remote areas, those living in the most socioeconomically disadvantaged areas, and those with a child protection history are generally at higher risk of death than their peers.’
The report also finds while the leading cause of death differed by age, natural causes (including congenital conditions and cancer) result in more deaths than external causes (including accident, homicide, and suicide) for children.
For infants, the leading cause of death was perinatal conditions (including prematurity); and for children aged 1-9 years, the leading cause of death was cancer.
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Source: Ombudsman New South Wales, Australia