New figures published today by the NSPCC show that over 198,000 in the UK (one in four) are at high risk because they are born into homes with domestic violence, mental health problems, or drink and drug dependency.
According to the charity, babies are eight times more likely to be killed than any other age group in childhood. Factors such as domestic violence, mental health problems, and drink and drug dependency among parents are known to be important risk factors for abuse and neglect. Two thirds of serious case reviews for infant fatalities or serious cases of abuse involve one or more of these problems.
Launching its 'All babies count' campaign, the NSPCC's chief executive, Andrew Flanagan, said: "It is a major concern that the NSPCC's new findings show the most vulnerable and helpless members of our society are often at risk because of a lack of support. All babies count is about making sure all babies get the care they need, when they need it most.
"Evidence from early intervention programmes shows that intervening early can remove the future risk of abuse or neglect. And it also makes sound economic sense. Investing in preventing harm is a more effective way of spending money than trying to pick up the pieces of children's broken lives in the years after abuse has happened.
"We're calling on the Government to join us in focussing attention, resources and expertise to demonstrate that All Babies Count. The Government's focus on early intervention is welcome, but we now need action."