Children are the future of our community. We all play a role in keeping them safe and helping them to thrive. The untimely loss of any child’s life is a terrible tragedy for the child’s family and our community – especially when the loss is preventable.
Data saves lives
In 2021, approximately 175,500 preventable injury-related child fatalities occurred in the United States, according to the National Center for Child Fatality Review. To better understand how we can prevent these fatalities, Clark County Public Health uses a process known as Child Fatality Review to examine the circumstances involved when a child dies from unnatural causes. The information collected through the review process informs recommendations for data-driven prevention strategies.
Review team form and function
Clark County Public Health regularly convenes local representatives from responder agencies, medical and behavioral health, social services, child welfare, education, law and justice. Together, this team reviews available records about the unnatural deaths of children in Clark County, including loss from sudden unexplained infant death, accidental deaths such as motor vehicle accidents, drowning, poisoning, burns and falls, or intentional fatalities such as suicide or homicide.
Through the review process, partner agencies identify protective and risk factors and system or service gaps that may have influenced the loss of life. Aggregated data and recurring themes inform prevention recommendations that are shared with local community leaders. This information is added to a growing national data base that guides prevention efforts across our state and nation. As a result of the process, partner agencies also build relationships, improve their own prevention practices and strengthen collaboration.
Protected by law
Child Fatality Review teams operate in most states and counties across the country. In Washington, state codes (RCW 70.05.170 and RCW 70.05.210) encourage local health jurisdictions to conduct this work and allow partner agencies to share and discuss data for this purpose. The law mandates strict privacy and confidentiality measures to protect the decedent and their family. Information about individual fatalities is not shared publicly.
Keep our kids safe
Injuries and fatalities are often preventable. Learn what you can do to promote child safety and protect children's lives from some of the leading causes of injury and death.
Hiding a gun is not enough. Lock it up!
Guns in the Home: How to Keep Kids Safe
Never leave a child unattended around water.
Safe Kids: Water safety at home
Sleep better knowing baby is safe.
CDC Safe Sleep for Babies: Eliminating hazards
Does your teen know the basics of safe driving?
CDC Keep Teen Drivers Safe
Slips, trips, falls and topples can be dangerous. Keep kids safe!
Safe Kids: Preventing falls
For more information about child fatality review at the state and national level.