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Child Death Review Team Issues Report for Santa Barbara County

The Child Death Review Team has issued a report of child deaths in Santa Barbara County for January 2012 through December 2014. The report reflects the deaths of children through the age of 17 and recommendations to prevent future deaths. 

The Child Death Review Team is a county-wide interagency team established in concert with Penal Code Section 1174.32. Child Death Review Teams (CDRT) identify and review suspicious child deaths and facilitate communication among persons involved in preventable child deaths related to accidents, abuse, neglect and/or homicide.

CDRT provides information about child deaths to the state for integration of information about how to prevent child deaths at the state level.

CDRT information is not related to the California Department of Social Services Child Fatality and Near Fatality Reconciliation data.

Santa Barbara County had 81 deaths to children 17 years old or younger between 2012 and 2014.

Key points are:

• The majority of child deaths in both years were due to medical conditions or unpreventable disease. In 2012, 83.3% (20/24) of all deaths were due to medical conditions; 2013, 76.0% (19/25) of all deaths were due to medical conditions; 2014, 71.9% (23/32) of all deaths were due to medical conditions. Over the three years, 27 (43.5%) of the deaths due to medical conditions for children under the age of 1, were due in some part to prematurity.

• Accidents appear to occur across all age categories and included motor vehicle accidents, drowning and asphyxiation.

• Parents co-sleeping with young children or maternal overlying are factors in some accidents and undetermined deaths. 

As a result of reviews by the Child Death Review Team in Santa Barbara County, a number of actions have been taken to prevent future deaths. These actions largely relate to educating individuals in our community about the prevention of SIDS, parenting and immunizations.

There has also been outreach with community agencies to work with high risk families and safe environments. The Child Death Review Team will continue to review child deaths.

The team remains committed to addressing barriers and learning from child deaths to prevent future deaths of children in our community.

For a copy of the full report, please contact Susan Klein-Rothschild, at 805.681.5435.

— Susan Klein-Rothschild is the public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.

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