Child deaths reach record low, with a catch
CHILD deaths have dropped to a 14-year low in Queensland with transport and suicide the leading causes of unnatural mortality in 0-17 year olds, according to a report.
The Family and Child Commission's annual report into child deaths around the state also recorded mortality rates up to twice the state average for indigenous children and children "known to the child protection system".
Total child deaths in 2017-18 dropped to 385, down from 421 the previous year. It was the lowest total since the child death register started in 2004.
The continued decline in child mortality rates from a high of about 50 deaths per 100,000 children in 2009 to 34 per 100,000 last year was driven by decreases in deaths from explained diseases and morbid conditions, the report found.
The most deadly period for a child was the first week of life with 132 deaths (34 per cent) occurring before that milestone. The most common causes being conditions originating in the peri-natal period and congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities.
Suicide and transport were the leading external causes of death with 24 in each category. Suicide was the leading cause of death for 10-17 year olds (56 per cent) with 19 reported suicides for children aged 15-17 years.
The leading causes of death for 1-4 year olds were drowning (6) and transport (6).
All six pedestrian deaths in Queensland last year were of children aged 1-4 who were run over in a driveway or carpark.
Eleven children drowned last year, down from 19 in 2016-17, with six drowning in swimming pools, two in bathtubs, two in rural dams and one in a creek.
No child drowned in a pool with a compliant fence with the gate latched.
The average mortality rate over three years for indigenous children (67.8 deaths per 100,000) was twice the rate for non-indigenous children (32.2 deaths per 100,000), the report found.
The death rate over the past three years for children known to the child protection system was 61.4 deaths per 100 000 children, compared to 35.0 deaths per 100,000 for all children.