A boy's hand thrust forward towards the camera

Child deaths

The death of a child is always tragic. Talking and thinking about a child's death is a sensitive and painful subject which is particularly upsetting for parents, families and carers.

The responsibility for ensuring that child death reviews are carried out is held by the child death review partners (Local Authority and North Yorkshire and York Integrated Care Board) within the local area.

Child death review partners must make arrangements to review all deaths of children and young people (under 18 years) normally resident within the local area and make arrangements for the analysis of information from all child deaths.

The Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP) is a multi-agency statutory requirement of local child death review partners who review all deaths in children and young people. City of York and North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Partnerships work together to co-ordinate the review of child deaths and share learning to help safeguard children.

This statutory process has been in place since 2008 with guidance recently having been updated in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2023, Chapter 5, and the Child Death Review Operational and Statutory Guidance 2018, published by NHS England in October 2018.

It is intended that the Child Death Review process will:

  • document and try to understand the cause of death so that parents, guardians and the wider family can come to terms with the death of their child
  • enable parents, guardians and professionals to take steps to prevent the deaths of any other children where possible
  • identify patterns of deaths in a community so that preventable or avoidable hazards that may contribute to deaths can be recognised and reduced
  • contribute to the improved collection of forensic evidence in the very small proportion of deaths where there might be concerns about the cause of death being non-accidental

View the latest CDOP Annual Report.

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Professionals who become aware of a child death must notify the Child Death Review Officer, Alison Brunton, within 48 hours.

  • Alison Brunton, Child Death Review Officer
  • Telephone: 01609 797167.
  • Email: [email protected]

Notification should be made using the Notification of Child Death online form, including as much information as possible.

Alternatively the Notification of Child Death Form can be downloaded from the NYSCP website and returned by email to: [email protected].

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North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children's Partnership Child and Family Bereavement Support assist children, young people, parents, carers and their families in accessing bereavement information, resources and services when they are bereaved by the death of a child or a child is bereaved by the loss of somebody close in their lives.

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The National Review into sudden unexpected death in infancy in families where children are considered at risk of significant harm was published on 21 September 2020.

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Training is available to York practitioners free of charge. These courses are arranged by North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Partnership.

See further information including how to book a place on our CYSCP multi-agency training courses page.

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The National Child Mortality Database (NCMD) is an NHS funded programme, delivered by the University of Bristol, that gathers information on all children who die in England.

They aim to learn lessons that could improve and save children’s lives in the future.

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The National Child Mortality Database (NCMD) publish safety notices on their website on a regular basis.

Designed to highlight key risks posed to babies and children, the section has been designed for professionals supporting families to have a one-stop place where they can go to see the latest safety updates, and obtain information on what to do to mitigate those risks.

Examples of current safety notices that professionals working with children and families should be aware of include:

Water safety

Water is fun but can be dangerous to children, including older children. The sea, pools, ponds and any standing water all pose a threat so it is important that children are watched and are never alone when around water.

Face masks

Face masks are not considered to be suitable for young children and babies, and can pose a danger to life.

Nappy sacks

Nappy sacks (nappy bags) are extremely dangerous to babies and young children, they can cause suffocation if near the mouth and nose.

Never leave nappy sacks in a child’s room - even if thought to be out of reach - and make sure that they cannot be accessed.

Equipment for babies, keep it simple

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and avoid enhancements unless recommended. With cots, it is safest to keep them clear of items such as bumpers, toys and loose bedding.

Blind and curtain cords

Cords on blinds, curtains and similar items must be kept short and out of reach of children, particularly in a child's bedroom or near a cot. They are extremely dangerous to children and babies as they can cause strangulation.

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