DOH releases data on child deaths in New Mexico

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It is often difficult to comprehend the loss of a child. The New Mexico Department of Health said it’s a marker of health and safety of all children in the state.

That’s why the department and expert panel works up a fatality review. That 2022 report is out and the findings are eye-opening.

It’s a report designed to understand child fatalities in New Mexico, the cause, risk factors, and whether experts believe the lives of those children could have been saved.

The 2022 report analyzed 163 deaths of New Mexico children under 18, over the course of several years – 2015-2021.

The report breaks those deaths down:

  • 14%, or 23 children, died from child abuse, neglect, or homicide
  • Almost 23%, or 37 babies, died from Sudden Unexpected Infant Death
  • Youth suicide represented 27% of those deaths, or 44 children
  • Unintentional injury made up most of those deaths – representing 36%, or 59 child deaths

The experts investigating each of those deaths found that 85% of deaths, or 139 lives lost, were preventable.

The report found children under the age of four were most likely to die from abuse, neglect, or homicide-related deaths. It detailed risk factors – more than half had a history of being a victim of violence and neglect.

“The New Mexico Child Fatality Review Report has a wide audience, some of it built into the report itself by participation of every entity that has someone appointed to any one of the four review panels,” said a spokesperson with the New Mexico Department of Health. “The report is also shared with the New Mexico Crime Victim Reparation Commission and the state Intimate Partner Violence Death Review Team.”