Why Children Die - RCPCH campaign

By looking at existing mortality data for the UK, the RCPCH's Why Children Die campaign aims to identify ways to reduce preventable child mortality across the UK. 

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About Why Children Die campaign

What's the problem?

The UK has one of the worst child mortality rates in Western Europe with nearly 2,000 excess deaths a year compared to the best performing country Sweden. 

Poor access to health services, the growing gap between rich and poor and a lack of targeted public health policies to reduce these deaths is to blame.

What is the Why Children Die Campaign aiming to achieve?

The College is committed to reducing childhood mortality in the UK, ensuring all infants, children, young people, and their families are supported to survive and thrive.

By working with child health experts to review existing evidence and through working in partnership with the National Children’s Bureau we have developed key policy recommendations to tackle child mortality in the UK.

In addition to this, the RCPCH has written a series of recommendations aimed specifically at Welsh Government, and is due to launch a set of recommendations for Scotland in Autumn 2014.

The report

Why Children Die: death in infants, children and young people in the UK, has been written by independent experts - Ingrid Wolfe, Alison Macfarlane, Angela Donkin, Michael Marmot and Russell Viner. The report reviews existing UK evidence on child mortality, and found that:

  • In 2012 over 3,000 babies died before age one and over 2,000 children and young people died between the ages of one and nineteen
  • Over half of deaths in childhood occur during the first year of a child’s life, and are strongly influenced by pre-term delivery and low birth weight; with risk factors including maternal age, smoking and disadvantaged circumstances
  • Suicide remains a leading cause of death in young people in the UK, and the number of deaths due to intentional injuries and self-harm have not declined in 30 years
  • After the age of one, injury is the most frequent cause of death; over three quarters of deaths due to injury in the age bracket of 10-18 year olds are related to traffic incidents.

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News articles

Here you will find links to news articles and blogs that relate to the Why Children Die campaign.


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Campaign materials

All the latest materials which support the RCPCH's Why Children Die campaign can be downloaded below.

RCPCH England policy response:

RCPCH Wales policy response:

RCPCH Scotland policy response:

RCPCH Northern Ireland policy response:

Get involved

If you are an organisation or RCPCH member wanting to find out how you can get involved with this campaign, please contact press.office@rcpch.ac.uk

Other ways to get involved