11/12/2015 12:27 EST | Updated 11/12/2016 00:12 EST

Child deaths drop in Manitoba, but advocate calls for work on water safety

WINNIPEG — Fewer children died in Manitoba last year, but the province's children's advocate says more work needs to be done.

The annual report from Darlene MacDonald says 149 children died in the fiscal year that ended last March — 18 fewer than the previous year and the lowest in at least five years.

Almost two-thirds of the deaths were from natural causes, while another 20 per cent were from undetermined causes.

Six deaths involved children who were either in or had recently been involved with child welfare and half of those were attributed to medical causes or motor vehicle crashes.

MacDonald says one area of concern is that five Manitoba children drowned last year.

Her office has emphasized the need for precautions, especially in First Nations communities because many sit along rivers or lakes.

The children's advocate is an independent officer of the legislature that provides advice to the government and child-welfare agencies.



The Canadian Press