Despite pronounced reductions in child mortality in industrialised countries, variations exist within and between countries. Many child deaths are preventable, and much could be done to further reduce mortality. For the family, their community, and professionals caring for them, every child's death is a tragedy. Systematic review of all child deaths is grounded in respect for the rights of children and their families, and aimed towards the prevention of future child deaths. In a Series of three papers, we discuss child death in high-income countries in the context of evolving child death review processes. This paper outlines the background to and development of child death review in the USA, England, Australia, and New Zealand. We consider the purpose, process, and outputs of child death review, and discuss how these factors can contribute to a greater understanding of children's deaths and to knowledge for the prevention of future child deaths.
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