Child Death Review Unit
The Child Death Review Unit (CDRU) of the BC Coroners Service reviews the deaths of all children age 18 and under in B.C. The intent of these reviews is to better understand how and why children die, and to use those findings to prevent other deaths and improve the health, safety and well-being of all children in British Columbia.
Through the review of all child deaths, the CDRU gathers data that can show trends in child deaths. In some cases, deaths will be further reviewed by way of a cluster review or though the multi-disciplinary review process. Information arising from these various reviews is analysed and shared with agencies and organizations to influence and develop programs to deter or prevent child deaths. By understanding the risks, we can be guided in determining the most significant opportunities for prevention.
Staffed with experts in the area of research and review, the unit also examines provincial and national trends with regard to child deaths.
Reports and Publications
2009 Annual Report - Child Death Review Unit
This report reflects the activities the CDRU undertook throughout 2009, focusing on the completion of 262 child death case reviews, public reporting, and recommendation monitoring and support.
Infant and Child Deaths
- Safe and Sound: A Five Year Retrospective on Sudden Infant Death in Sleep-related Circumstances – November 2009
This report examines the lives and deaths of 113 B.C. infants who died suddenly and unexpectedly in their sleep between January 1, 2003 and December 31, 2007. It describes the trends and patterns found in order to make meaningful recommendations that improve outcomes for all infants and result in continued and strengthened collaboration across all child-serving jurisdictions.
- Looking for Something to Look Forward To – A Five-Year Retrospective Review of Child and Youth Suicide in B.C. – (Jan. 1, 2003 to Dec. 31, 2007)
Suicide is the second most common cause of death for children and youth aged 12 to 18, after motor vehicle crashes. Past reviews of child and youth suicide conducted by the Child Death Review Unit have found that the majority of these deaths are preventable. Both the prevalence and the high level of preventability suggested the need for a special report on child and youth suicide. Please send us your feedback on this report.
Summary Report – Looking for Something to Look Forward To
'Panel Makes Recommendations on Child Suicide Prevention' news release and backgrounder – December 2, 2008
- Report on Drowning – July 2007
The CDRU reviewed 33 cases of child drowning deaths from 2000 to 2006. Eighty-eight per cent, 29 of the 33, were preventable. The report examines contributory risk factors including risks associated with swimming pools, swimming ability of children, and hazardous water conditions like cold water and drop-offs. It also encourages parents, caregivers and youth to alter perceptions about the risks of children drowning.
Child Death Review Panel Report
On April 18, 2008 and July 4, 2008, a Child Death Review Panel was convened in Burnaby, B.C. to examine the circumstances related to the deaths of six Aboriginal youths. These youths died between 2004-2005 in the Northern, Interior and Vancouver Island regions. There were three females and three males between the ages of 13 and 18 years old. Circumstances of death included a motor vehicle crash, suicide, exposure, and poisoning; alcohol was a factor in all six deaths. Link to full report below:
Public Safety Bulletins