Guidance for professionals on child death reviews

This page helps professionals who contribute, in any capacity, to a child death review. Whether you are a member of a Child Death Overview Panel and regularly contribute to the review of child deaths; a clinician, social worker or police officer who has been asked to contribute for the first time; or any professional with a question about the process, the National Child Mortality Database (NCMD) is here to support you.

This page will help you access resources, guidance and contacts to support you in contributing to the child death review process, and overcoming some of the common challenges.

If you are participating in a review, we thank you for lending your expertise to contribute to better learning on the causes of child death, and for helping to save lives in future.

child death review professional

What do you need help with?

Filling in a form

If you’re having difficulty completing the forms associated with a child death review, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Reporting on child deaths is often complex because it is so important to capture every detail, and the forms sometimes change to better reflect public health concerns. Here are answers to a few common questions.


  1. How should I complete the child death notification form?
  2. What is the supplementary reporting form?
  3. How should I record the category of death on the analysis form?
  4. Where can I find the most recent forms?​
Participating in a review for the first time

Perhaps you have not been involved in reviewing a child death before, but you’ve received a request to participate and you’re unsure how to proceed. Some basic questions on the process that we often answer include:


  1. What is the background of the child death review process?
  2. Why have I been asked to contribute?
  3. What is the statutory guidance for professionals contributing to a review?
  4. How many Child Death Overview Panels are there, and how can I contact them?
Supporting families

Every child death is a tragedy, and it’s vital that the review process supports the grieving of families rather than adding to their discomfort at a difficult time. Equally, it is important that learning from child death review is shared with parents to prevent future deaths. Here are answers to some common questions.


  1. Why is engaging parents in hospital review so important?
  2. What learning on child safety can I share with parents?
  3. What resources for bereaved parents are available from the NHS, Sands and the Lullaby Trust?
  4. What resources to explain death reviews and data collection are available from the NHS and NCMD?
Implementing guidance

Are you familiar with the official guidance around child death review, but struggling to implement this guidance? Perhaps you’re experiencing challenges organising meetings, managing participants and knowing when to report? Professionals often ask us:


  1. How can I ensure that my death review meeting is effective?
  2. How should I approach virtual meetings, or meetings on a particular theme?
  3. How has Covid-19 changed the review process, and the joint agency response to child deaths?

Browse all of our child death review guidance

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