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Little Change For Cuyahoga County Childhood Deaths In 2018

Cuyahoga County Child Deaths by Age Group [Cuyahoga County Child Fatality Review Board]

In 2018, there were 185 child deaths in Cuyahoga County, according to a recent report released by the Cuyahoga County Child Fatality Review Board. That's three fewer than in 2017.

Cleveland children made up 55 percent of those deaths, but the city only has 26 percent of the child population in Cuyahoga County. There’s a reason behind the disproportionate number of childhood deaths in the city, said John Ladd, program officer with the Cuyahoga County Office of Early Childhood.

“The single most common risk factor we see is absolutely the one that’s hardest to solve, and that is poverty, and it is present in the majority of child deaths,” Ladd said.

The report found asthma-related deaths are an emerging trend, with 12 deaths in the last four years. Ladd says with modern medicine, asthma-related deaths should be extremely rare.

“But we do see instances where children don’t have access to their asthma medication, or they have their medication but they’re not regularly taking it, and then sometimes things just spiral out of control until there’s an asthma event that’s not manageable,” he said.

The majority of childhood deaths in Cuyahoga County are infants. Premature births, birth defects, and sleep-related deaths top the list for why 120 children died in Cuyahoga County before their first birthday.

The report recommends education around safe-sleep practices and medical care to decrease pre-term births, two of the three highest risk factors for children dying before their first birthday.

It also recommends educating the community on safety issues like teen driving and child car seats, as well as providing better care coordination for children with chronic conditions like asthma.  

lisa.ryan@ideastream.org | 216-916-6158