Little progress in preventing sudden infant deaths since last report: BC Coroner

Coroners panel studied 141 sleep-related sudden infant deaths between 2013 and 2018

There’s been no change in the number of babies dying in their sleep five years after B.C.’s coroners’ services made recommendations to stem the trend.

The service says its death review panel found about 23 infants under the age of one die unexpectedly while sleeping each year.

The panel studied 141 sleep-related sudden infant deaths between 2013 and 2018 and found infants continue to die under the same circumstances identified by an earlier panel that looked at the same types of deaths between 2008 and 2012.

The panel report says the deaths disproportionately affect vulnerable young families with risk factors, such as exposure to tobacco, while a combination of sleep positions and health issues may increase the danger.

The panel calls for additional support from public-health nurses and other trained providers for expectant women and families with infants, and consistent, accessible messages related to infant sleep practices.

ALSO READ: Number of kids rushed to BC Children’s after fall from windows doubles

It also recommends a provincial approach to the review of infant deaths, including expanded investigative protocols.

“Something that stood out for us is that there are many parallels to the findings from our death review panel into these deaths five years ago,” panel chairman Michael Egilson said. “That means there is still work to do around sharing messaging about safe sleep practices and associated risk with the right audience; and, there is work to do to better support new parents with identified vulnerabilities.”

Egilson was joined on the panel by 19 experts working in areas like youth services, child welfare, maternal health, medicine, law enforcement and Indigenous health.

It found gaps in capacity for delivering universal health services and for providing enhanced services to vulnerable families.

The previous death panel’s report, published in 2014, also made recommendations aimed at improving investigative practices and data collection for investigators, including coroners and first responders.

It called for guidelines to be established for genetic testing in coroner investigations and identifying audiences and messaging around safe sleep practices.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Summerhill Winery proposes college for sustainable food production

The proposed Culinary College for Humanity will help to develop a sustainable food culture

Kelowna woman reported missing

Kiana Haner Wilk’s family has not been able to contact her since Tuesday evening

Central Okanagan Search and Rescue helps off-roaders stuck on KVR trail

The group called for help around 9 p.m. last night

Kelowna career fair offers new opportunities

Don’t miss the upcoming Black Press Extreme Education and Career Fair in Kelowna, March 12.

Central Okangan Search and Rescue help save three men in eight days

All three men were snowmobiling in the backcountry when they got lost

Kelowna Capital News donates archives to UBCO

Kelowna Capital News donated materials dating from 1980 to 2000

Petition slams Victoria councillor who chastised police after Wetsuweten protest

Ben Isitt calls effort to get him suspended is not a ‘reliable barometer of public opinion’

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

LETTER: Forestry practices will affect property values

Logging these water purifying ecosystems affects B.C. communities

Suspect at large after stealing seaplane before crashing into another in Vancouver

Police responded to the incident at 3:30 a.m. on Friday at Vancouver Harbour

MLA Larson deals with abuse and threats

Oliver office has a buzz-in system, and panic buttons

LETTER: Thanks to Fyffe Road Snow Angel

Snow-clearing efforts have been appreciated

Railroad police on patrol in Vernon

CN Police remind residents to stay off the tracks while blockades continue across Canada

Most Read