A significant number of babies who died due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome suffered from vitamin D deficiency, according to report by two senior pediatric pathologists in Britain.
Dr Irene Scheimberg and Dr Marta Cohen suggested that vitamin D deficiency could also lead to injuries and deaths that may be viewed as suspicious and may cause children to be taken away from their parents on suspicions of child abuse.
These findings were triggered by a case in 2009 when Dr Scheimberg found that congenital rickets was the cause of death in a four-month-old baby. The parents of the latter were accused of causing death by shaking.
Dr Scheimberg is of the opinion that bones of very small babies become brittle due to vitamin D deficiency and also fracture very easily. "We need to investigate the vitamin D levels of these children carefully and the circumstances in which the bones fracture," she told the BBC.
Larger studies are needed to ascertain the link between vitamin D deficiency and the risk of infant deaths, but if these findings are borne out, health officials need to consider increasing vitamin D supplementation in pregnant women.