There are requirements for sudden deaths due to ‘accidents’ to be reported to a particular
enforcing agency, which may undertake its own investigation. Most often these are
deaths occurring at work and in major disasters and the enforcing agency is the Health
and Safety Executive. The police may also be involved, post mortems required and
inquests held. In a small number of cases, there may also be a Public Inquiry.
The death of a child or baby is reported in all the same circumstances that an adult’s
death would be reported. Deaths of unknown cause include all suspected ‘cot death’
cases. A child’s death is always reported to the coroner if it is the result of an
accident, at home or elsewhere, or if there is suspicion that someone may have harmed
If a child has died in an accident, a police or coroner’s officer will visit the
place where it happened and may take photographs and take away any equipment involved.
It is normal practice after the death of a baby or child for the police to ask the
Child Protection Team if there is a history of child abuse in the family. The coroner
and Child Protection Team realise this can be very distressing, but it is vitally
important that the check is done because other children may be at risk.
3 Members include police officers and social workers.