Siblings of infants who die suddenly run greater risk

22 July 2020

Siblings of infants who died suddenly and unexpectedly run 10 times the risk of dying in the same way, suggests a study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

While sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) remains rare, affected parents need support to reduce the risks to subsequent infants, say researchers.

The UK’s Care of Next Infant (CONI) programme was set up in 1988 to help such families. It includes regular home visits from a health visitor until the child is at least six months old, and basic life support training.

Researchers used details of infants registered with CONI between 2000 and 2015 for the study, 6608 in total.

Repeat SUDIs were rare, with 29 such deaths reported in 26 families between 2000 and 2015. There were two SUDIs in 23 of the families, and three in three of the families.

The researchers said the risk reflects both inherent genetic risks as well as environmental factors such as maternal smoking and unsafe sleeping.

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