Police spread word on infant deaths

The Metropolitan Police is to raise awareness among children’s professionals of the dangers of children falling asleep in the same bed as adults after finding this is the single biggest factor in sudden unexpected infant deaths in the capital.

Of the 91 such deaths investigated by the Met’s Project Indigo in its first year of operation, 18 children had fallen asleep in bed with adults, while three were sleeping with them on sofas.

In one case a mother went to bed intoxicated and woke to find the lifeless body of her child next to her. In another, a child died after falling between her sleeping mother and the back of a sofa.
Children had known illnesses in another 20 cases, while a variety of other causes accounted for half of the total.

Mark Jackson, a detective superintendent with Project Indigo, said he hoped to share the findings with other children’s professionals so they could play their part in alerting parents to the dangers.

He also wants to expand Project Indigo’s work with the capital’s paediatric intensive care units so it can identify cases where children are admitted to hospital after unexpected incidents but do not die immediately.

Project Indigo started on 1 April 2005 and investigates all sudden unexpected deaths in London of children aged under two.

For further information contact mark.t.jackson@met.police.uk

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