from natural causes is the second leading cause of mortality to
children over one year of age, following unintentional injuries. In
1999, 9,848 children over the age of one died in the United States from
natural causes. A death due to a natural cause can result from one of
many serious health conditions. Congenital anomalies, genetic disorders
(such as cystic fibrosis), cancers, heart and cerebral problems,
serious infections and respiratory disorders such as asthma can be
fatal to children. Many of these conditions are not believed to be
preventable in the same way in which accidents, homicides or suicides
are preventable. But there are some illnesses, such as asthma,
infectious diseases and some screenable genetic disorders, in which
under certain circumstances, fatalities can and should be prevented.
For example, deaths due to asthma are usually preventable. Asthma is a
chronic respiratory disease that involves episodes of the airways
constricting from inflammation. Triggers for an asthmatic event include
allergens, infections, exercise, changes in weather or exposure to
airway irritants including tobacco smoke or pollution. Asthma affects
approximately five million children a year in the U.S. The asthma death
rate for children 19 years and younger increased by 78% between 1980
and 1993, many believe due to environmental conditions. Despite these
statistics, treatments for asthma are numerous and generally very
- Children with congenital anomalies and other
- Children who do not receive preventive medical
- Children who live in poverty.
- Children with chronic health conditions.
- Exposure to environmental hazards, especially
of vulnerable children.
- Non-compliance with prescribed treatment
- Parental or caregiver failures to seek
adequate medical attention.
for Case Review
- Birth records
- Pediatric records for well and sick visits
- Death certificates
- Hospital birth records
- Emergency Department records
- Public Health immunization records
- Names, ages and genders of other children in
- Police reports
- CPS reports on caregivers and child