110 Child Deaths Were ‘Preventable’ – More Than Just a Headline

110 child deaths pic3A headline in the July 18th UK & World News section of the Sunday Sun read “110 child deaths were ‘preventable’.” The article continued on to provide a bit more detail: “of 2,000 deaths recorded between April 1, 2008 and March 31, 2009, 110 were deemed to have been preventable. The South West of England had the highest proportion of deaths which could have been stopped (15%) and the North West had the lowest (2%), according to the figures released on Thursday. ” What terribly cold statistics for such a heartbreaking scenario as a child death. And what an outrage – 110 preventable deaths! How is that possible today…and in the UK? But there is more to consider here than just these numbers …there is another message here that we can’t afford to overlook.

According to UK Children’s Minister Baroness Morgan, “Every death of a child is a tragedy and the Government is focusing relentlessly on children’s safety to drive improvements in practice and continue to learn lessons. That is why we introduced a new duty on local authorities to review ALL child deaths, enabling lessons to be learnt and actions taken to prevent deaths in the future. ” Lessons are being learned that target all potential danger areas, from threats of abuse and neglect, to accidents, bullying and suicidal behaviour. (Sunday Sun July 18, 2009)

The message we can’t and shouldn’t miss – is that the numbers are actually being counted. Someone is paying attention! Minister Morgan said that “England is the first country in the world to have implemented a multi-agency reviewing system on a national basis and this first year has included a wide range of causes, from deaths due to illness and road traffic accidents to suicides and murders…It is all our responsibilities to make sure we are doing all we can to keep our children safe.” Some may grumble and say it was a response to tragic circumstances that caused the British Government to create the current policies. And perhaps that’s true…however I think it’s worth remembering that tragedies occur in all our societies… What matters is what happens next when the dust settles; we need to be able to ask ourselves have we put anything in place that demonstrates that when we say “never again” we mean it? …and we need to answer YES and believe it.

So once again I read the headline “110 child deaths were preventable” and although I am incredibly angry that there is even 1 child death that could have been prevented I am also incredibly grateful that somewhere, someone is keeping watch over the children.

And I pray that the lessons learned from that aren’t just in the UK.

About the Author

Stefanie Zucker is President and co-founder of Pediatric Medical and Managing Director and co-founder of Axios Partners, a strategy consulting firm. After a number of years spent researching the safety issues associated with transporting children on ambulances she became a child health safety advocate and formed Pediatric Safety with a goal of creating a world-wide movement of parents and caregivers inspired to protect the health and safety of kids. Stefanie is a member of the PedSafe Team


Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!