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Arch Dis Child 89:443-447 doi:10.1136/adc.2003.036202
  • Community child health, public health, and epidemiology

Sudden unexpected death and covert homicide in infancy

  1. S Levene,
  2. C J Bacon
  1. Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths, Artillery House, 11–19 Artillery Row, London SW1p 1RT, UK; fsidsids.org.uk
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr C J Bacon
    Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths, Artillery House, 11–19 Artillery Row, London SW1p 1RT, UK; fsidsids.org.uk
  • Accepted 17 December 2003

Abstract

It is impossible to be certain, but it is estimated that each year in England and Wales there may be about 30–40 infant deaths from covert homicide, which represents about 10% of the current annual total of sudden unexpected deaths in infancy. This paper reviews the features that have been suggested as possible indicators of covert homicide, describes the difficulties in its identification and the need for better evidence, and emphasises the importance of thorough medical investigation of all sudden infant deaths.

Footnotes