Infant Mortality Trends in Virginia 2014-2016
Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline
Infant mortality encompasses all deaths of children during their first year of life, and child mortality includes all deaths of children aged 1 – 17 years. Infant and child mortality rates are critical indicators used to determine not only a population’s maternal and child health but also the overall health of a population. The study and analysis of infant and child mortality also reveals health disparities and inequities, the quality of healthcare, and other social issues within a society.
In 1994, the Virginia General Assembly enacted Virginia Code §32.1-283.1, which established the State Child Fatality Review Team. This statute directed the Team to develop and implement procedures to ensure the systematic analysis of child deaths, ages 0-17 years, in Virginia. Since its inception, the Team has reviewed and analyzed infant and child deaths to better understand how and why children die, to strengthen Virginia’s systematic response to child death, and to recommend intervention and prevention strategies to prevent future deaths. In 2015, the Team implemented the Infant and Child Mortality Surveillance System. This project serves as a public health exercise to examine the underlying causes, characteristics, and risk factors associated with child death in Virginia. Moving forward, this data will allow for the statistical analysis of trends over time, provide a better understanding of circumstances surrounding specific causes of death, as well as guide decisions made by policy makers and stakeholders that may influence the health of children and their families.