Leading Causes of Death for Children Under Five

Child Deaths Increase but Long-Term Trend is Downward

Awareness of the leading causes of death for children can lead to intervention strategies to help prevent mortality. Many of these deaths are preventable through preconception health care, early and ongoing prenatal care, and outreach to parents and caregivers. This indicator measures the leading causes of death for infants less than one year old and children ages one through four in San Bernardino County. The rates of death from all causes for children from birth through four years of age in San Bernardino County are also compared to selected California counties.

How is San Bernardino County Doing?

In 2013, the overall death rate for children under five years of age in San Bernardino County increased:
  • The number of infant deaths increased 13%, from 179 in 2012 to 202 in 2013.
  • Among children ages one through four, however, there was a 12% decrease in the number of deaths, from 33 in 2012 to 29 in 2013.
  • The overall death rate for children under five increased 9.0% between 2012 and 2013.
  • The 10-year trend for San Bernardino County, as well as the state, is gradually downward.
  • San Bernardino County has a consistently higher rate of death for children under five than the California average and all counties compared.
  • Maternal pregnancy complications affecting the newborn and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome topped the list of leading causes of infant deaths.
  • Drowning was the leading cause of death for young children (one to four years old).

Source: California Department of Public Health, Center for Health Services, Vital Statistics Query System (www.apps.cdph.ca.gov/vsq/default.asp)

[visualizer id=”1582″]

Source: California Department of Public Health, Center for Health Services, Vital Statistics Query System (www.apps.cdph.ca.gov/vsq/default.asp)

Leading Causes of Death for Infants and Young Children
San Bernardino County, 2013*
Causes of Death Number of Deaths
Infants (Under Age One)
Maternal Pregnancy Complications Affecting Newborn 34
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome 33
Prematurity/Low Birth Weight 25
Respiratory 24
Congenital Defects of Circulatory System 13
Chromosomal Abnormalities 10
Congenital Defects of Musculoskeletal System 8
Congenital Defects of Nervous System 6
Blood Infection 5
Infections (Perinatal) 5
Drowning 5
Assault (Homicide) 5
All Other Causes 29
TOTAL 202
Young Children (Ages 1-4)
Drowning 6
Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood 4
Cancer 3
Assault (Homicide) 2
Cerebral Palsy 2
All other causes 12
TOTAL 29

* 2013 cause of death data is considered preliminary. With the exception of accidents, causes with fewer than five deaths for infants and fewer than two deaths for young children are included in “All other causes.”

Source: County of San Bernardino, Department of Public Health