Children's environmental health indicators

This section summarises the latest Environmental Health Indicators for children in New Zealand, for selected domains.

You can find specific information and factsheets about children's environmental health in the links to each indicator.  

On this page

Children and the indoor environment 
Children and transport

Children and the indoor environment

Indicator Key findings

Household crowding

  • About one in seven children aged 0-14 years (15.9%) lived in crowded houses in 2013.
Second-hand smoke exposure
  • In 2012/13, 5.0% of children aged 0-14 years were exposed to second-hand smoke in their home. This is about 45,000 children.
  • Fewer children were exposed to second-hand smoke in their home in 2012/13 (5.0%) than in 2006/07 (9.6%). 
Maternal smoking
  • In 2015, 12% of mothers who gave birth were smoking at two weeks after birth. This had decreased from 14.3% in 2010.
  • In 2018, there were 7,182 asthma-related hospitalisations (including wheeze) among children
    aged 0–14 years in New Zealand.
  • The age-standardised rate for asthma hospitalisations increased from 2002 (473 per 100,000) to 2018 (779 per 100,000).   
  • In 2017/18, 14.9% of children aged 2–14 years had medicated asthma. This is about 122,000
Lower respiratory tract infections
  • In 2016 there were over 9000 hospitalisations for lower respiratory tract infections in children aged 0-4 years.
  • The rate has increased from 2815 per 100,000 in 2001, to 3050 per 100,000 in 2016. 
Sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI)
  • In 2015, 41 children under one year of age died from SUDI in New Zealand. This is a rate of 0.7 deaths per 1,000 live births.
  • Since 2000, the number and rate of SUDI deaths has decreased.   
Meningococcal disease 
  • In 2016, there were 35 notifications of meningococcal disease among children aged 0-14 years.
  • The notification rate of meningococcal disease decreased from 2009 (8.5 per 100,000) to 2016 (3.8 per 100,000).

Children and transport 

Indicator Key findings

Active transport to and from school

  • In 2017/18, less than half (43.2%) of children aged 5-14 years usually used active transport (such as walking and cycling) to get to and from school. 
  • There has been no significant change in the use of active transport among 5-14-year-olds in over 10 years, from 2006/07 to 2017/18.
Unmet need for GP services due to a lack of transport
  • In 2018/19, 2.3% of children aged 0-14 years had a medical problem but did not visit a GP due to a lack of transport, in the last 12 months. This is about 21,000 children.
  • There has been no significant change in the percentage of children with unmet need for a GP due to a lack of transport between 2011/12(3.0%) and 2018/19.
Road traffic injury deaths and hospitalisations
  • In 2014, 13 children aged 0-14 years died from traffic injury, the majority as vehicle occupants (11 deaths).
  • The mortality rate for traffic injuries for children halved from 2001 to 2014.
  • In 2016, there were 259 hospitalisations for traffic injuries for children, most of which were for vehicle occupant injuries (52%) or pedestrian injuries (28%). 
  • The overall traffic injury hospitalisation rate for children aged 0-14 years increased slightly from 2012 to 2016.  
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