Areas with highest rates of child deaths and pregnant smokers revealed

Young children are up to three times more likely to die depending on where they live and women are up to 18 times more likely to smoke while pregnant in some areas, according to a National Health Performance Authority report released today.

The report is the first in Australia to break down by local area: infant and child death rates, smoking during pregnancy, the percentage of low-birthweight babies and women who had at least one antenatal visit in their first trimester.

The lowest rate of infant and young child death was in Bayside (Vic) (2.6 deaths per 1,000 live births), while the highest rate was in the Northern Territory (9.2 deaths per 1,000 live births).

The percentage of all women who smoked while pregnant ranged from 1.8% in Sydney North Shore & Beaches up to 33.1% in Far West NSW.

While rates of infant and young child deaths have fallen dramatically in recent years, Australia’s rate is still three times higher than that of the best-performing OECD countries. Today’s report highlights areas where improvements are possible in child and maternal health.

Read the media release here.

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