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Suicide the leading cause of unnatural death before 17

QUEENSLAND lost 28 children to suicide last financial year, a further 25 died in road accidents, 16 drowned and 14 died from fatal assaults or neglect.

In previous years, the leading cause of unnatural deaths for children aged 0-17 in Queensland was traffic accidents.

But last financial year this changed, and now suicide is, for the first time, the leading unnatural cause of death for 0-17 year olds in Queensland.

The figures showed 24 children who committed suicide were aged 15-17 years old and four were aged 10-14.

The Queensland Family and Child Commission annual report into children's deaths shows 445 children aged 0-17 died in the 2014-15 financial year.

Most deaths, 69%, were from natural causes, including diseases and morbid conditions, and 20% were from accidents, suicide, drowning and fatal assaults or neglect.

The commission has given the report to Queensland Parliament and it was tabled last week.

The report said one in 2500 children died in Queensland last financial year - the lowest rate since it started recording the deaths in 2004-05.

Principal Commissioner Cheryl Vardon said some of the most important messages to decrease child death rates included: access to prenatal care and medical advice during pregnancy, using child restraints and seatbelts and not leaving infants in the bath or shower or relying on siblings to supervise.

"Every death in this report is a heavy loss for families, friends and communities," she said.

"Every death from a preventable cause leaves regret, heartache and grief."

She also said infant mortality was still twice as high for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island children.

- APN NEWSDESK


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