Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commisioning Group

Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commisioning Group

Child death reviews

When a child dies

The death of a child is a devastating loss that profoundly affects bereaved parents as well as siblings, grandparents, extended family, friends and professionals who were involved in caring for the child in any capacity.

When a child dies, in any circumstances, it is important for parents and families to understand what has happened and whether there are any lessons to be learned. When a child up to the age of 18 dies, there are certain processes that have to be followed to help us understand the reasons for the child’s death, and enable us to address the possible needs of other children and family members in the household.

Developing a better understanding of child deaths, and considering what we can learn from each case, helps us develop more effective prevention strategies for safeguarding children’s welfare in the future.

The information below sets out the new arrangements for child death reviews  across North and South of Tyne Safeguarding Children Partnership which includes Northumberland, North Tyneside, Newcastle, Gateshead, South Tyneside, Sunderland.

All the information provided on this page is available to download in a single document  



This above document sets out how the Child Death Review partners and professionals in agencies across the six Local Authority areas in North and South of Tyne will, in response to changes in legislation, work together to review child deaths at a local level, and across the region, in order to identify learning that may help to prevent future child deaths.

Across North and South of Tyne the CDOP will review approximately 60 child deaths per year and this will provide a larger cohort of data to enable better identification of themes, trends and learning. This will include a review of the deaths of all children normally resident in the relevant local authority area, and if they consider it appropriate, the deaths in that area of non-resident children.

The death of a child is a devastating loss. Families experiencing such a tragedy should be met with empathy and compassion. They need clear and sensitive communication. They also need to understand what happened to their child and know that people will learn from what happened.

The process of expertly reviewing all children’s deaths is grounded in deep respect for the rights of children and their families, with the intention of preventing future child deaths.

Family engagement and bereavement support

The processes that follow the death of a child are complex, in particular when multiple investigations are required. Recognising this, a decision will be made as to who is the most appropriate person to support the family as a key worker. This is usually a person known to the family and could be, for example the GP, the Consultant Paediatrician, or 0-19 worker.

The leaflet When a Child Dies – A Guide for Parents and Carers should be given in printed format to all bereaved families or carers.