Child Death Review

Lifespan Health
Public Health

What would you like to do?

What would you like to do?

What you need to know

What you need to know

​The Nebraska Legislature created the Child Death Review Team (CDRT) in 1993. At that time, about 300 Nebraska children were dying each year but there was no process to understand why and how the deaths happened.

The CDRT reviews the numbers and causes of deaths of children ages 0 to 17. CDRT members also try to identify cases where a person or community could reasonably have done something to prevent the death. All child deaths are reviewed, not just “suspicious" or violent ones.  

The goals of these reviews are to:

  • Identify patterns of preventable child death.
  • Recommend changes in health care and social services systems' responses to child deaths.
  • Refer any previously unsuspected cases of abuse, malpractice, or homicide to law enforcement.
  • Report to the public and state policy makers about child deaths. These reports include recommendations on changes that might prevent future deaths.

Preventability of Child Deaths

For approximately 34% of the deaths, CDRT reviewers somewhat or strongly agreed with the statements:
This death was preventable - standard-of-care medical management would have changed the circumstances that led to death. (Medical cases)


This death was preventable - an individual or community could reasonably have done something that would have changed the circumstances that led to death. (Non-medical cases)

Top 5 Causes of Death for Children in Nebraska for 2009

  1. Pregnancy-Related – 65 deaths
  2. Birth Defects – 56 deaths
  3. Motor Vehicle-Related Incidents – 32 deaths
  4. Sudden Unexpected Infant Death – 23 deaths
  5. General Medical Conditions – 18 deaths

Key Recommendations for Future Prevention

Goal: Promote healthy lifestyles for reproductive age women.

Key Strategy: Include preconception care as a vital and routine part of care for reproductive age women.
Target Audience: Nebraska Medical Association and members

Goal: Improve assistance to children with disabilities and their families/caregivers.

Key Strategy: Nebraska's home visitation programs should increase the priority of service delivery to families of children with severe disabilities.
Target Audience: Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and local partners

Goal: Promote safe and supportive environments for children

Key Strategy: The Nebraska Medical Association and their members should take the lead on dispelling myths about vaccine safety and promoting infant and child vaccinations.
Target Audience: Nebraska Medical Association and pediatric providers

Goal: Improve the quality of the investigation and documentation of child deaths.

Key Strategy: Actively promote, implement and expand the state's existing protocol on child death scene investigations, including a regional system of experts in death scene investigations.
Target Audience: Nebraska Attorney General's Office, Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center, Nebraska County Attorneys Association

Sudden Unexplained Infant Death Reporting

Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUID) is a term used to describe unexpected infant deaths and is not an official diagnosis. Further investigation is needed to determine the cause of death, including an autopsy, death scene review, and a review of clinical history. Approximately 1 in 5 infant deaths in Nebraska are related to SUID. Classifying deaths as SUID provides little information for prevention efforts that could be implemented to reduce future similar deaths related to risk factors present.

A group of invested partners convened to develop an updated SUID investigation reporting form and online training for Law Enforcement, First Responders, Investigators, County Attorneys and their Designees, and Forensic Pathologists. Register for the free self-paced training in the Answers 4 Families Classroom​. Please follow the Instructions for creating an account and enrolling.

Please utilize the Nebraska SUID Report Form​ in the investigation of all such deaths.​

Jennifer Severe-Oforah
MCH Epidemiology Coordinator
Phone Number
(402) 471-2091
Fax Number
(402) 471-7049