According to a recent study commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership and published by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in the UK, the children of mothers older than 30 are less likely to die. Over the past 20 years, child mortality has decreased by 50% in the United Kingdom overall, but not amongst the children of young mothers.
According to the BBC, "The research found that in England, Scotland, and Wales, the difference in mortality between children of mothers under 30 and those born to mothers aged 30 to 34 accounted for 11% of all deaths up to nine years old."
Professor Ruth Gilbert, clinical lead for the research, reports that young mothers do not directly cause of child deaths. Rather, this increased rate of child mortality is related to factors that increase children's health risks. For example, the young maternal age in the UK is increasingly becoming a marker of social and economic disadvantage. Women who have been educated and have career prospects are more likely to have children at a later age. The disadvantages and inequalities that women face regarding pregnancy and motherhood must be addressed directly in order reverse this trend.
According to Jill Rutter, head of policy and research at the Family and Childcare Trust, "Disadvantage and maternal age are factors often associated with child deaths. The government has recognised the vulnerability of the children of teenage mothers and given these families extra help with parenting."
The Times of India reports that 22% of child deaths of women younger than 30 in the UK were due to "unexplained causes," the study said, "which are strongly associated with maternal alcohol use, smoking and deprivation."
As Gilbert mentions, universal policies must be in place to begin strategically tackling this social issue among young mothers.