Research Article

Is there a link between cot death and child abuse?

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 289 doi: (Published 29 September 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;289:789
  1. J Roberts,
  2. J Golding,
  3. J Keeling,
  4. B Sutton,
  5. M A Lynch


    Forty five babies delivered in Oxford obstetric units who subsequently died unexpectedly in infancy were compared with 134 controls matched for maternal age, social class, parity, and year of birth to see whether five factors identified in an earlier study as predictive of subsequent child abuse would also predict the sudden infant death syndrome. Epidemiological findings had suggested certain similarities between the two events. In contrast with babies who were abused, four of the five factors did not distinguish between babies who died suddenly and unexpectedly and their controls, but there was a slight increase in the proportion of mothers of babies who died suddenly and unexpectedly for whom nursing staff thought that support and advice on feeding the baby were needed. Factors predictive of child abuse did not predict sudden infant death in this study.