NORFOLK, Va., (WVEC) -- Children dying from abuse and neglect in Virginia is an ongoing problem, including in Hampton Roads.
From July 2016 to June 2017, eastern Virginia had 42 child deaths, according to an Eastern Region Child Fatality Review report. In Hampton Roads, 16 of those deaths were due to neglect or child abuse.
The report's findings were presented by health professionals and child service agencies on Wednesday. The report also shows 94 percent of the children in those cases were under the age of three.
Dr. Michelle Clayton, Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters Child Abuse Program Medical Director, said many of these deaths are preventable but it takes community involvement.
"The community at large is responsible for its health. No one agency can look out for every single child, it takes all of us working together to be aware of conditions that may be unfavorable for children," said Clayton.
Clayton said along with community involvement, more parental education can help prevent child deaths. Eighteen of the 42 Eastern Virginia deaths were due to unsafe sleeping environments.
"There are a lot of people that think the baby’s so small they are safest with me. But the unfortunate truth is that babies that sleep with other people are at a higher risk of suffocation," said Clayton.