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Child Deaths

Vital Statistics

Technical Notes for 2015 Child Deaths in North Carolina

The data presented in the report are derived from death certificates filed with the North Carolina Vital Records office for North Carolina resident children ages 0 through 17 who died in 2015. Numbers in this report may differ slightly from numbers reported later by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME). The State Center for Health Statistics (SCHS) bases its statistics on death certificate coding only and closes out annual data at a specific point in time. The OCME makes its determinations utilizing a variety of information sources when conducting its death reviews, does not close out their data, and some of its cases are still pending when SCHS closes the annual data files. Therefore, the cause and manner of death determined by the OCME may be modified based on OCME review after the time period during which the SCHS finalizes annual data files.

I. Trends in Child Death Rates by Race/Ethnicity

The graph of trends in child death rates presents rates by race/ethnicity for every odd year of data from 1991-2015. All racial/ethnic groups presented are mutually exclusive categories. Mortality data for this time period does not include a mechanism for reporting decedents of multiple races. Rates are presented per 100,000 child population (ages 0-17) in that racial/ethnic group.

II. Child Deaths by Age Group and Cause of Death

Child Deaths by Cause and Age Group
Cause of death categories are allocated into five age groups: Infants, 1-4, 5-9, 10-14, and 15-17. The Infant category includes all children who die within 365 days of their date of birth.

Unintentional Injuries Subcategories
Note that the total number of unintentional injuries are divided into six subcategories:  motor vehicle injuries, suffocation/chocking/strangulation, drowning, poisoning, bicycle, and all other unintentional injuries.  Sub-categories are based on the most frequently occurring causes of death within the unintentional injury grouping. Subcategory figures are not included in the overall totals since they are included in the broad Unintentional Injuries category.  

All Other Causes of Death Category
This grouping includes deaths which cannot be categorized into any of the major cause of child death categories. Within this category, the majority of deaths were attributed to other ill-defined and unspecified causes of mortality (87.1 percent).

Note regarding Trends in Causes of Child Death

Since 1999, causes of death have been under the International Classification of Diseases-Tenth Revision (ICD-10) coding system.  Coding for 1998 and earlier years were coded under the ICD-9 coding system. Consequently, caution should be exercised in comparing cause-specific deaths prior to 1999 with causes occurring from 1999 forward because the coding systems were not comparable. As a result, changes in the rates for specific causes of death from 1988 to 2014 may reflect changes in the coding system rather than epidemiological causes.

III. Trends in Child Death Rates by Age Group

The graph presenting trends in child death rates by age group displays rates for the ten-year period 2006-2015. Rates are displayed for all child deaths as well as four age groups:  0 to 4, 5 to 9, 10 to 14, and 15 to 17. Rates are presented per 100,000 resident children (ages 0-17) in that age group.

IV. Trends in Child Deaths for Selected Causes of Death

The graph presenting trends in child death rates by cause of death displays rates for the ten-year period 2006-2015. Rates are displayed for major cause of death categories. Rates are presented per 100,000 resident children (ages 0-17).

North Carolina Population Data

Denominators for all child death rates presented in this report are derived from population estimates supplied by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and prepared under a collaborative arrangement with the U.S. Census Bureau. Bridged population estimates are updated after every Census (known as Intercensal files) and post-Census years are updated annually (known as Postcensal files). Denominators for 2010 estimates were derived from the 2010 Bridged Census file. Intercensal Bridged estimates files were used for rates from 1991-2009. 2011-2015 rates were based on 2015 Vintage Postcensal Bridged estimates.

Death rates prior to 2015 have been recalculated using the latest available population data from the NCHS Bridged files. As a result, rates presented in this report may differ slightly from prior reports based on earlier population estimates.



Produced by the N.C. Division Public Health - Women's and Children's Health Section in conjunction with the State Center for Health Statistics