Also called child death or under-5 mortality, child mortality refers to the death of kids younger than five years of age. These kids can be saved if they aren’t malnourished, or subjected to unhygienic drinking water, and infections or disease. Though similar to infant mortality, child mortality lifts the children’s upper age limit to 5 years. However, the factors causing deaths are pretty much the same: poor living conditions, unhealthy mothers, illiteracy and lack of adequate healthcare systems.

During the 1800s, the global rate of child mortality (number of deaths for every 100 under-five children) was 43.3 percent. The rate fell to 3.4 percent in 2013. This improvement is primarily due to betterment in global health infrastructure and decreased inequality. The improvements started setting in after the 1950s.

Statistics and Relevance

During early-modern age, child mortality wasn’t rare. In fact, in 18th-century Sweden, every third kid succumbed to death. And in 19th-century Germany, every second kid died. These alarming statistics created the need to protect the young ones and provide them with necessary care. Thanks to declining poverty in Europe and increasing health sector advancements and knowhow in other parts of the world, child mortality declined rapidly with time.  

In most developed countries, child mortality is much below 1 percent. The death rate in developing countries has declined too, but not rapidly as one would presume. Major developing economies such as China and Brazil have exhibited tremendous improvement, but African countries are still not completely safe for kids. In the period 1990-2008, the number of kids in developing nations succumbing to death before celebrating their fifth birthday fell to 72 deaths from 100 deaths for every 1000 births.

Third World Issues

In most developing countries, malaria accounts for approximately 10 percent of total under-five deaths. As per the World Health Organization (WHO), bad neonatal conditions primarily contribute to young deaths.

Close to 80 percent of the healthcare happens in homes and most of the kids die, as a result, without being examined by a licensed healthcare practitioner. Also, proper breastfeeding is still not the norm in most underdeveloped families. Breastfeeding safeguards kids from diarrhea and respiratory tract infections; it also boosts their immune system and enhances their response to pills and vaccinations. Violent neighborhoods, improper child supervision, and exposure to toxins are some other issues.