How are deaths during childhood counted?

The most common way of recording the number of deaths during childhood is to count the number of children who die before the age of 5 years, therefore children who are born alive but die before their fifth birthday will be counted as under-5 deaths but children who die on or after their fifth birthday will not be included. However, there are limitations to this method as it is important not to forget older children.

Under-5 deaths are often used as a measure of the number of childhood deaths.

The WHO defines a child as a person under the age of 18 years. Ideally all deaths under the age of 18 should be recorded as childhood deaths. However, this is rarely done as teenagers are usually not cared for by paediatric services. Many paediatric services only care for children up to the age of 13 (the common age of puberty).

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