Number of cot deaths in UK stops falling as 198 are recorded in 2019

Number of cot deaths in UK stops falling as 198 are recorded in 2019 – with teenage mothers most likely to lose a baby to unexplained causes

  • The 2018 figure is also higher than the previous year’s figures of 189 deaths
  • Number of unexplained infant deaths declining since 2004 when there were 317
  • Unexplained deaths accounted for 0.30 out of 1,000 live births in 2018 

The number of babies dying of unexplained causes has levelled off in the last six years, figures show.

There were 198 unexplained infant deaths, accounting for 8 per cent of all infant deaths, in England and Wales in 2018.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the 2018 figure is also slightly higher than the previous year’s figures of 189 deaths. 

There were 198 unexplained infant deaths, accounting for 8% of all infant deaths, in England and Wales in 2018 according to data from the Office for National Statistics (stock image used)

But the number has generally been declining since records began in 2004 when there were 317 unexplained infant deaths.

Unexplained deaths accounted for 0.30 out of 1,000 live births in 2018, the ONS said.

More than half of unexplained infant deaths were males in 2018, at 114 deaths, which is a similar proportion to all infant deaths.

In 2018, the unexplained infant mortality rate was highest for mothers aged under 20, at 1.11 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Almost every year since 2004, the unexplained infant mortality rate for babies of mothers born in the UK has been more than double the rate for babies of mothers born outside the UK.

The ONS said some of this difference could be explained by the different age profiles of the mothers.

The rate of unexplained infant deaths was more than four times higher among low birthweight babies in 2018. 

Gemma Quayle, from the ONS, said: ‘The rate of unexplained infant deaths had been decreasing since records began in 2004, but today’s figures help confirm that these improvements have levelled off since 2014.

The number has generally been declining since records began in 2004 when there were 317 unexplained infant deaths (stock image used)

‘There are a range of factors that influence the risk of an unexplained infant death, from sleeping practices to the age of the mother.

‘Overall, the risk is relatively small, but we will continue to monitor the figures closely for further changes.’

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