3 Reasons why the first month of a child’s life is the most dangerous | UNICEF Canada: For Every Child Skip to main content


Last year, 7,000 newborns died every day.

That’s just one of the many shocking facts revealed in a recent report by the United Nations Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation about the likelihood of survival of newborn children around the world. Because of issues such as poverty, social inequality, and even geography, many children lose the chance to grow and thrive as people in their communities.

 What may be the most shocking of all: many of these deaths are preventable. Read on to learn more—and to find out what can be done about it.


A staggering 2.6 million babies died in 2016—or 7,000 every day.

The chances of survival were no better for many children under the age of five,with roughly 1 million dying on their first day of life, and 5.6 million children younger than 5 years old dies in 2016. If the world doesn't make faster progress, 60 million children younger than five will die between now and 2030, roughly half of them newborns.



Most newborns die from things we know how to prevent or treat.

7 major factors contributed to the deaths of children under the age of 5 last year: preterm birth complications (18%), pneumonia (16%), intrapartum-related complications (12%), diarrhoea (8%), neonatal sepsis (7%) and malaria (5%).


Children die an early death, often because of who they are and where in the world they live.

Of all society’s injustices, the fact that poverty, geography and other means of exclusion prevent families from accessing the care they need may be the most fundamental. Most newborn deaths took place in just two regions: Southern Asia (39%) and Sub-Saharan Africa (38%). A child living in Southern Asia or Sub-Saharan Africa was nine times more likely to die in the first month than a child living in a high-income country. Five countries in these regions accounted for half of all newborn deaths in 2016; India, Pakistan, Nigeria, The Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia.


Ending preventable newborn and child deaths is possible in our lifetime.

If every country achieves the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target on child survival by 2030, the lives of 10 million children will be saved. About half of those children will be newborns. Doing this requires polcymakers, businesses, health care workers, communities and families to come together to provide affordable, quality health care for every mother and child, starting with the most vulnerable.