"Let me look into 50 cases of so-called SIDS and I will find a cause in 49 cases"

When young babies die, their death is often labelled as a case of SIDS or cot death, but when we take a closer look, this is often actually not the case, a renowned coroner told the VRT. 

Werner Jacobs is a respected medical examiner in Belgium. In his book "De doden praten" (the dead speak) he wrote that "SIDS is a term which is often used mistakenly". Mr Jacobs explained this statement in the VRT's late night talk show "Van Gils & Gasten".

While the term SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) stands for unexplained cases of a sudden death, Werner Jacobs often does find a cause when he really looks into the matter. "When I examine the cause of death of infants under 18 months who officially died because of SIDS, I nearly always find a cause. In 20 percent of the cases we find clues of violence. The other 80 percent accounts for natural deaths or accidental causes." 

Let me look into 50 cases of so-called SIDS, and I will find 49 explainable causes of death

If medical examiners would be allowed to examine more cases of SIDS, then there would almost be no more cases of SIDS: "If I would examine 50 children whose official cause of death is SIDS, I would find a cause of death in all of them, except maybe one", Jacobs estimates. 

This in itself is a shocking statement. So what could be the cause of death in this 80 percent of "natural causes"? "This is about children who sleep in the same bed as their parents and who are accidentally squeezed by their parents, for example." 

Werner Jacobs underlines the fact that if he finds causes of death, this does not necessarily imply murder or anything. If you have any questions concerning child deaths, or if you feel you need a conversation, you can dial the free number 106 of Tele-Onthaal.