This data release covers child deaths notified and reviewed between 2020 and 2021, and gives readers an opportunity to explore comprehensive child death review data for themselves.

The National Child Mortality Database (NCMD) was notified of 3,068 child deaths in England between April 2020 and March 2021. In the same period, 2,575 child deaths – which might have occurred during the period or before – were reviewed in detail by child death overview panels.


The data was collected as part of the child death review process, which applies to all children under the age of 18 and is mandatory in England. Child death overview panels have a statutory obligation to collect information from every agency that has had contact with the child and to share this with the NCMD, with the ultimate goal of understanding why children die and making changes to improve and save lives in the future.

Child death overview panels notify the NCMD of each child death within 48 hours, and provide basic information about the child’s characteristics and suspected cause of death. As the death is reviewed, this basic information is developed into a comprehensive record of the circumstances of the child’s death with input from all professionals who had contact with the child.

For the first time, this year’s data release covers deaths notified to NCMD in addition to those reviewed within the period. The data gives broad insights into when and where these deaths occurred; the characteristics of the children who died, including sex and age group; and where modifiable factors were identified. It also sets these statistics against those seen in previous years.

The data release also covers the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, and shows that an estimated 25 children are likely to have died of Covid-19 infection between 1 March 2020 and 28 February 2021. You can read in more detail about our work on Covid-19 in children in our published academic papers.

The data will be analysed in greater detail, and with more specific focus, in our series of thematic reports, which aim to pull out key findings and recommendations. This data release gives readers the opportunity to explore the data freely – though we recommend reading the data tables alongside the commentary report for context.

You can also download the .csv data for Table 10.

Note: The NCMD’s annual data release was previously known as the LSCB1 return