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Derbyshire: Shocking causes of child deaths

Second-hand smoking was linked to the deaths of 8 Derbyshire children
Second-hand smoking was linked to the deaths of 8 Derbyshire children

Second-hand smoking was found to have contributed to the deaths of eight children in Derbyshire last year.

There were reviews into 51 child deaths across the county between April 2016 and March 2017.

They show that in eight out of these 51 cases a “contributory factor” was smoking by the parent or carer of the child.

Access to healthcare (seven), domestic violence (six) and smoking by the mother during pregnancy (five) were among the other causes.

The most common contributory factors which were noted in the analysis of cases were acute/sudden onset illness and other chronic illnesses – with 42 and 13 incidents respectively.

The figures are in the Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Board Annual Report.

The Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP) found that in five cases there were “modifiable factors” which could prevent other child deaths.

In the report it states: “The death of any child is tragic but CDOP ensures all cases discussed are sensitively and thoroughly reviewed; CDOP actively seeks the views of all parents and responds to them in a timely manner.

“A wide range of agencies are represented on the panel.

“This enables an in-depth analysis to be undertaken and for learning to be derived from this.

“The review of all child deaths involves the collation of information about the circumstances of the death, categorising the cause of death in accordance with the national dataset, determining if there are any modifiable factors that may have prevented the death and agreeing if there are any lessons to be learned in order to reduce future deaths.

“The panel is highly committed to learning from any such death where possible in order to identify preventable factors at both national and local level and inform action that can be taken to reduce the number of child deaths in the future.”

The board does not determine the cause of death but will look over information provided by other agencies.

This would include the cause of a child’s death from the relevant pathologist’s report, and will look to see if there are possible safeguarding issues.

Second-hand smoke contains about 4,000 chemicals.

Many of these chemicals are dangerous; more than 50 are known to cause cancer.

Any time children breathe in second-hand smoke they are exposed to these chemicals.

Infants have a higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) if they are exposed to second-hand smoke.

Children have a higher risk of developing serious health problems, along with the chance of current health issues worsening.

They are also more likely to start smoking themselves, say researchers.

Kids who breathe second-hand smoke can have more ear infections; coughs and colds; respiratory problems, such as bronchitis and pneumonia; and tooth decay.

Eddie Bisknell , Local Democracy Reporting Service