18 Feb 2015

Suicide, crashes still big youth killers

1:08 pm on 18 February 2015

The number of children and youths dying each year has halved since 1980, but suicide and car crashes are still major killers of young people each year.

The Child and Youth Mortality Review committee released its 10th report based on data from 2009 to 2013.

It pulled together information from a variety of sources including the Ministry of Health and the coroners' office.

It showed the number of deaths among children and young people up to the age of 24 had dropped from 1334 in 1980 to 515 in 2013.

The chair of the committee Felicity Dumble said the reduction was particularly noticeable in sudden death in infancy, and in unintentional injuries.

"It is a concern that suicide is such a significant feature in these statistics. And there is a number of initatives underway to investigate who is at risk, why they are at risk and how we can actually reduce the impact of suicide on our young people."

Ms Dumble said that in the report period, 645 young people committed suicide and 572 died in crashes.