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Some “cot deaths” are child abuse

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.318.7177.147 (Published 16 January 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:147
  1. Caroline White
  1. London

    A diagnosis of the sudden infant death syndrome may prevent the detection of fatal child abuse, according to Professor Roy Meadow, of St James's University Hospital in Leeds. About 400 babies are classed as dying from the syndrome each year in the United Kingdom.

    Professor Meadow's comments are based on 18 years' experience with 81 children who were initially diagnosed as having died of natural causes but were subsequently found to have been killed by their parents (Archives of Disease in Childhood 1999;80:7-14). In over 80% of cases the infant's mother was found to be responsible for the death, which had usually been caused by smothering. …

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