Four Northamptonshire babies have died since lockdown while in the care of parents under the influence
Another safeguarding review has been published this week after a six week old baby died
By Sarah Ward
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Four Northamptonshire babies have died since lockdown while in the care of parents who were under the influence of drink or drugs.
A safeguarding review was published yesterday detailing the death of a six-week-old baby boy who died after co-sleeping with its mother who had been using drugs. In all four cases the families were already known to social services before the deaths of the young children.
The six-week old baby’s death in November 2021 comes after the death of a six-month old who died suddenly in April 2020 after being looked after by parents who had been drinking. In the same year [exact date not given] a one-year-old died after sleeping in the bed with parents who had been out drinking in town and in June 2020 a newborn baby died after sleeping with its mother who was intoxicated and had taken cocaine.
Since December 2021 five child safeguarding practice reviews have been carried out and published by Northamptonshire Safeguarding Children Partnership (NSCP) - a statutory body made up of the police, health and social services. Its website says its remit is to enable local agencies to work together to make excellent practice become the norm, allow partner agencies to hold each other to account and to identify early ‘new’ safeguarding issues.
When a child dies under certain circumstances the NSCP has a duty to hold a review to look at what professionals did and what lessons can be learned.
Four of the five reviews have found a similar theme where a baby has died while being in the care of an under the influence parent (the other was a serious child neglect case in which the baby was repeatedly injured before dying).
In at least two of the reviews a recommendation has been made that 'the NSCP should ensure that there is a better professional understanding of potential alcohol misuse and how this can be harmful to children.'
In the case of this most recent death a health visitor had on a number of occasions warned the mother, who had a history of domestic abuse and was known to take and deal drugs, that she should not co-sleep with the child while under the influence.