The NPMR evolved as an extension of the work of the National Sudden Infant Death (SIDS) register. Based in Children’s Health Ireland at Temple St since 1992, the SIDS Registry collected data on all sudden unexpected deaths in infants under 2yrs and conducted a population based case control study of risk factors for SIDS in the Irish paediatric population. Successful interventions were formulated on the basis of the resulting epidemiological evidence base and implemented nationally in collaboration with the Dept. of Public Health. This resulted in a substantial reduction in the number of SIDS deaths in Ireland. Subsequently, the NPMR’s remit and data collection system was extended to include all paediatric deaths regardless of cause and age, with the primary objective of addressing preventable deaths in all age groups.
However, there is currently little or no timely and reliable data available on the circumstances and causes of death in children after the age of one year. While death registration information is routinely recorded, it is subject to delays and inaccuracies or lack of detail on contributory factors. Other datasets are specific for disease, site or age. This lack of data or incomplete data, results in an incomplete data driven understanding of why children die in Ireland. Standardised data triangulated from multiple sources in a timely fashion is required at the national level. This will identify issues and trends in child mortality and assist in the development of intervention policies.