Cot death charity call for collection of infant death data as new study reveals almost two thirds of babies died sleeping with a parent.
The national cot death charity, The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID), called today for the collection and publication of local infant death data, as a new post-mortem study* reveals that almost two thirds of babies died while they were sleeping with a parent.
Currently, a wealth of detailed information regarding the circumstances in which babies die is gathered by individual Child Death Overview Panels (CDOPs) in England, but it is not collated and published nationally.
The latest study from a specialist team at Great Ormond Street Hospital, published today in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, reveals that over a 10-year period, almost two thirds of babies who were referred to the hospital for post mortem were sleeping with a parent when they died.
The expert group of paediatric pathologists, led by Prof Neil Sebire, analysed findings from 1,516 post mortems performed between 1996 and 2005. Of these, 546 met the criteria for sudden unexpected death of an infant (SUDI).
Prof Sebire, said: ”The results of our study show that co-sleeping was involved in nearly two thirds of all SUDI infants referred to Great Ormond Street for autopsy. This is the largest single-centre pathology study to date, but in some cases, information regarding the presence or absence of risk factors such as parental smoking or alcohol use was not available at the time of post mortem.
“Several international studies have shown an increased risk for babies, less than four months old, who co-sleep with a non-smoking mother, but it is only in the last two years that data on risk factors has been routinely collected by local UK agencies. We back FSID’s call for collation of the CDOP data. This would be of enormous benefit both to future research and public awareness campaigns.”
FSID’s Chief Executive, Francine Bates, said: “The new Study strengthens what previous research has shown, that co-sleeping is associated with a significant number of unexpected deaths of babies in the UK, but it also highlights the need for more research which examines the relationship between co-sleeping and other risk factors.
“The UK has one of the best Child Death Review processes in the world so it is very odd that this vital local information is not widely available. Failure to collate and publish it is a missed opportunity to help us to prevent and reduce cot death still further.”
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