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Arch Dis Child. 1999 Jan; 80(1): 15–20.
PMCID: PMC1717802

Cumulative mortality in children aged 1 to 6 years born in Western Australia from 1980-89


PURPOSE—To investigate cumulative mortality for children aged 1-6 years born in Western Australia from 1980 to 1989.
STUDY DESIGN—Births and deaths were ascertained from a linked total population database supplemented by information from postmortem records. Deaths were classified according to the underlying cause, and mortality rates, including factor specific rates, were calculated. Trends were investigated and comparisons were made using relative risks with 95% confidence intervals.
RESULTS—Cumulative mortality was 2.2/1000 infant survivors, with a significant decrease during the years studied. Mortality was almost four times higher for Indigenous children, with no decrease. Accidents comprised 45.6% of all deaths, birth defects 17.3%, cancer and leukaemias 12.5%, and infections 11.0%. Low birth weight, preterm birth, and young maternal age significantly increased the risk of death in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous children; single marital status was also a significant risk factor for non-Indigenous children.
CONCLUSION—High quality data and appropriate classification systems are essential to enable effective monitoring of childhood deaths and the planning of preventive programmes. Further decreases in mortality rates might be dependent on ensuring that resources are directed towards improving social and economic conditions for Indigenous and other disadvantaged families.

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Selected References

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