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More caution on suspicious infant deaths

Experts have suggested involving GPs in a new, more cautious approach to identifying suspicious infant deaths after a series of high-profile convictions for 'covert homicide' were overturned.

Researchers from the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths urged standardised controls and greater weight of evidence in each case of suspected infant homicide.

A review of the evidence base found criteria were not robust and did not allow significant conclusions to be drawn and that current understanding of covert homicide in infancy was 'very inadequate'.

Underlining the difficulties involved in finding the cause of sudden unexpected infant deaths, the authors suggested a three-part investigation of any sudden infant death, which would include a case discussion involving GPs following the postmortem.

Their report was published in Archives of Disease in Childhood (May).

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