Report Shows Child Deaths in Contra Costa Are Often Preventable

A review of 21 child deaths in Contra Costa during 2013 shows that nearly all of them were preventable.

The report, produced by the Contra Costa Child Death Review Team and the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Contra Costa County and released in October for national SIDS Awareness Month, found that 18 of the cases were “probably preventable.”

Those cases including deaths by drowning, motor vehicle crash, sleep-related deaths including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and accidental asphyxia, and firearms.

The 2013 Contra Costa County Child Death Report offers several recommendations for reducing the incidence of future childhood deaths, including a countywide “Safe to Sleep” campaign, promotion of active supervision and child abuse prevention, youth anti-violence programs and firearm safety laws.

The team includes representatives from the Contra Costa Sheriff-Coroner, District Attorney, local police, Health Services, Children & Family Services and others. Dr. Jim Carpenter, a pediatrician at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center, chairs the team.

The team reviews coroner’s investigations of some child deaths to determine if and how they could have been prevented. The team does not review natural deaths in which the child was receiving medical care for a known condition, such as a disease, that caused the death.

Coroner’s cases that were reviewed represented about one-quarter of the county’s child deaths in 2013.