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, 82 (10), 873-6

Recurrence of Unexpected Infant Death


Recurrence of Unexpected Infant Death

S Wolkind et al. Acta Paediatr.


Families which had experienced two or more unexpected infant deaths were the subject of detailed confidential enquiries, including necropsy examination. Cases were derived from two main sources: first, deaths occurring during a nationwide programme of support for families with a subsequent baby (8 families) plus 2 families from a series of confidential enquiries in Sheffield, and second, direct referrals from paediatricians (17 families). Fifty-seven deaths were studied. Twenty-four families had experienced 2 and three had experienced 3 deaths; 11 deaths (19%) were found to be adequately explained by history or post-mortem findings; 7 (12%) were probably accidental; 31 (55%) were most probably due to an action by one of the parents (filicide); only 5 (9%) were considered to be true or idiopathic sudden infant death syndrome; in 3 (5%) cases there was insufficient information to draw a conclusion. Five (18%) of the families lived in circumstances of serious social deprivation. A history of psychiatric illness was present in one or both parents in 18 (67%) of the families.

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