More than 60 per cent of Wanganui children require emergency care by the age of 4.
But the Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) is now getting better information at a house-by-house level to counter such startling statistics.
A joint committee meeting of the WDHB on Friday was given a picture of child health in the region by Phil Murphy, information analyst at the Whanganui Regional Health Network.
"Nationally, Wanganui's child health doesn't compare well. That's because of the type of population here - typically with high needs, low income, and poor housing, which is particularly relevant when talking about respiratory illnesses.
"We have some very high needs here in Wanganui," Mr Murphy said.
He said 62 per cent of Wanganui children had been to Whanganui Accident and Medical or the hospital's emergency department by the age of 4.
In the past 18 months, 92 per cent of Wanganui children aged 4 or below had received some form of healthcare.
However, information was now becoming available that could drill down to a house-by-house level.
Mr Murphy presented a series of interactive Excel-based graphics to the joint committee that showed Wanganui's health statistics in visual form. For example, he showed maps that identified which parts of the city had the greatest number of hospital admissions, and the greatest number of smokers.
The graphics could even show how many hospital admissions came from each house in Wanganui, and what those admissions were for.
The data has been produced to help the work of the Children's Team, part of the Government's Children's Action Plan, where health, education and social sector professionals work together to protect New Zealand's most vulnerable children and young people.
Judith MacDonald, DHB member and part of the Children's Team, said the purpose of the project was to identify Wanganui's vulnerable children and find out how they could be helped as early as possible.
"We want to focus on the right children early, not only on those who have been referred to us," Mrs MacDonald said.
The Children's Team is in its early stages, having been together for just a month.