A leading medical examiner has claimed the support of colleagues in calling for an automatic autopsy in cases where infants die of unexplained causes. The proposal also has the support of Flemish family welfare organisation Kind & Gezin. According to Dr. Werner Jacobs, such deaths are routinely attributed to SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, whose causes are not known. In actual fact, he claims in a new book and on the VRT talk show Van Gils & Gasten, one in five SIDS cases are the result of violence.
As Het Nieuwsblad reports, the figures for cot deaths in Belgium have fallen dramatically in recent years, from 118 in 1993 to 13 in 2015. The fall coincides with advice for prevention given to all new parents: lay your child on their back when sleeping; in the parents’ bedroom but not in their bed; avoid certain medication and smoking in the presence of the infant.