Child death rates are steadily declining in New South Wales, mainly off the back of improved infant mortality figures.
But it’s not good news for all. Suicide rates for late-teen children remain steady, Indigenous children are dying at twice the rate of others, and in the decade to 2014, 23 children may not have died if they had been vaccinated.
The NSW Child Death Review Team examined 504 deaths, 294 of them relating to babies under the age of one month.
Of those deaths, 33 children died in transport accidents, nine from drowning and eight as a result of being assaulted.
Acting NSW Ombudsman Professor John Mc Millan said while the overall decline in childhood mortality had been significant, there were “still too many preventable deaths”.
Children with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds continue to die at 2.3 times the rate of non-Indigenous children.
“It is very high, it’s always been very high,” a spokeswoman for the NSW Ombudsman said.
Fifty-nine Indigenous children died in 2015 and the rate of injury-causing death is five times higher than among non-Indigenous children.
The report found “suicide was the leading cause of death for 15 to 17-year-olds, and the mortality rate for this age group in that year was the highest since 1997”.
However, overall child deaths from suicide have remained stable for 20 years, with 26 deaths in 2015 attributed to suicide compared to 25 in 1996.