Infant mortality


Infant mortality refers to the number of deaths within the first year of life and is an indicator of the general health of an entire population. It reflects the relationship between causes of infant mortality and upstream determinants of population health such as economic, social and environmental conditions. Deaths occurring during the first 28 days of life (the neonatal period) in particular, are considered to reflect the health and care of both mother and newborn.

Reducing infant mortality overall and the gap between the richest and poorest groups are part of the Government's strategy for public health (Health Lives, Healthy People: Our Strategy for Public Health November 2010).

Infant mortality is usually expressed as the number of deaths in children under the age of one year per 1,000 live births (known as the infant mortality rate).

Key findings

  • The most recent published figures (2015-17) show that Lancashire-12 area's (4.7) infant mortality rate [i] is significantly worse than the England rate (3.9). Blackburn with Darwen's infant mortality rate (4.3) is similar and Blackpool's (6.4) is worse than the England rate.
  • Between 2015 and 2017 there were 185 infant deaths registered in Lancashire-12 area residents.
  • Across the Lancashire-12 area, in Burnley (7.8) the infant mortality rate remains significantly worse than the England rate (2015-17). Between 2014-16 and 2015-17 Burnley's infant mortality rate increased by 14.7%.
  • In the Lancashire-12 area (2.58), the 2014-16 neonatal mortality rate (number of deaths under 28 days, per 1,000 live births) is similar to the England rate (2.74). Blackburn with Darwen (2.78) and Blackpool's (3.28) neonatal mortality rate is also similar to the England rate.
  • In the six Lancashire-12 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) the neonatal mortality rate is similar to the England rate (2014-16).

[i]  This infant mortality indicator is based on the year in which the death was registered.

Monitoring infant deaths remains a priority and the Child Death Overview Panel 2015-2016 annual report provides information on trends and patterns in the deaths reviewed in the last reporting year (2015-2016) and on all deaths since the panel began in 2008, across the Lancashire-14 area. 

The safer sleep for baby campaign aims to raise awareness of safer sleeping for babies and focuses on six easy steps for parents/carers to follow to make sleep safer, and potentially reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (cot death).

For further information Public Health England's Mortality section presents data on deaths during pregnancy and childhood and includes infant mortality and stillbirths profiles.

For county data and further information please see below.

Page updated November 2018