Salt in food `led to baby death'

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A THREE-month-old baby died from salt poisoning after his parents fed him Ready Brek instant cereal, mashed potato and gravy because special baby foods were too expensive, an inquest heard.

Lee Short died in Doncaster Royal Infirmary last month. He had been admitted after having a fit and lapsing into a coma. He died in intensive care five days later.

At the inquest yesterday, Stanley Hooper, the Doncaster coroner, was told that Lee's food had contained 9g of salt compared with the recommended maximum adult daily amount of 7g for a man and 5g for a woman.

The tragedy followed a decision by his parents, David Elders, a caterer, and Joanne Short, not to purchase special baby foods because they thought they were too costly.

Instead of weaning the baby onto baby rice and rusks, they opted for Ready Brek mashed up with instant porridge and baby milk. His diet was later widened to include mashed potatoes and gravy.

Doctors found excessive levels of sodium in his blood and urine which led to his death. heard. Consultant pathologist Dr Dick Variend told the hearing: "It is my view that this baby had 9g of salt during a 24-hour period or slightly longer as a result of being fed food prepared for adults."

The boy's parents were at the hearing but neither gave evidence and they left without making a comment. A verdict of accidental death was recorded.