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Action is urged to
cot deaths

The number of unexplained deaths among babies is not reducing fast enough, and health officials must do more to prevent cot deaths, a charity has said.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the unexpected and unexplained death of an apparently well baby.

New figures from the UK Office for National Statistics show there were 221 unexplained infant deaths in England and Wales in 2012.

This equates to 0.3 deaths for every 1,000 live births. In 2011 the rate was 0.34.

The Lullaby Trust charity said it was "incredibly disappointing" that the rate has not significantly fallen and called for health officials and local health authorities to do more to reduce SIDS.


"Although any drop is a step in the right direction, we are not reducing SIDS fast enough," said Francine Bates, the chief executive of The Lullaby Trust.

"We have one of the highest infant mortality rates in western Europe which is staggering when we know of measures that can reduce the risk of SIDS and save lives.

"We are failing hundreds of babies every year, and more must be done to make infant survival a priority.

"In other countries like Holland where SIDS is very low, they apply a concerted strategy to reducing infant deaths and their health professionals consistently give the safer sleep advice to families.

"We worry that complacency is setting in."

In July, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said new mothers should be taught about the risks of sleeping with their babies and should learn about other safe sleeping habits.