Sands has gone through data recently released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and we can confirm that in 2020, on average in the UK, 13 babies died before, during or shortly after birth. 

This number has decreased from the previous year when in 2019, an average of 14 babies a day were dying in the UK. 

What this means for families in 2020 

It means that sadly 4,533 babies were stillborn or died shortly after birth in the UK during 2020 and that every day, 13 families received the heart-breaking news of the loss of their precious baby. 

Understanding more about the numbers 

Year on year, that means that one less baby’s life has been lost every day, and fewer families have had to go through the painful grief of losing their child. 

However, while it is welcome news that the number of baby deaths fell, the rate of stillbirths and neonatal deaths didn’t fall. The change in daily deaths from 14 a day to 13 may relate to the overall fall in births in 2020. 


More about the difference in these numbers 

The mortality rate tells us how many babies died in every 1,000 live births. This is important as it shows if more babies’ lives are being saved through vital research and intervention. 

With the number of births falling, the number of baby deaths can fall, even if the mortality rate stays about the same.  

It’s possible that the COVID-19 pandemic has played a part in the unchanged mortality rates for babies. ​As we recover from the pandemic, it is vital there is a renewed focus on reducing baby deaths across the UK. 

What this means for Sands and our work to save more babies’ lives 

These statistics tell the continuing tragic story of all the babies who have died. Understanding why babies die is vital if we are to save more lives and that’s why Sands is working tirelessly with bereaved parents and collaborating with world-leading researchers and clinicians to find the answers.  

And it’s thanks to our supporters and partners that Sands has been able to play a central role in reducing the rate of deaths from 17 babies a day in 2009 to 13 babies a day in 2020. But there is so much more to do. 

We are here for anyone who needs support 

At the heart of our work is the support we provide to bereaved parents and families, and we cannot forget that even with the progress made in saving babies’ lives, 13 families a day are still left devastated by the death of a baby. 

If you or someone you know needs support, Sands is here for you.  

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