Warwickshire parents cleared of causing baby son's injury

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image captionJudge Elizabeth Walker, sitting in Coventry, said both were "demonstrably good parents"

A couple whose baby suffered a rib injury has been cleared of any blame after a family court judge concluded that medication played a part.

The boy was placed with relatives after X-rays showed a rib fracture. Both parents denied hurting the child.

Judge Elizabeth Walker, sitting in Coventry, said although the cause was not known, medication to treat his acid reflux could have weakened his bones.

Both were "demonstrably good parents", she said.

Ms Walker, who considered the evidence at a family court hearing over five days in August, ruled the child should return to his parents' care.

The coronavirus pandemic had delayed the progress of the case and she apologised to the couple.

'Entirely satisfied'

The baby, born in Warwick and now 12 months old, was removed from the family home about eight months ago when social services bosses at Warwickshire County Council asked for a ruling on the cause of the injury.

After hearing the case, Ms Walker said the boy was born prematurely and a doctor told her he was an "ill child" who was prescribed Ranitidine, then Omeprazole, to treat acid reflux when he was between a month and two months old.

Omeprazole was associated with an increased risk of bone fragility in children, and a "fracture hazard" increased if babies were also taking Ranitidine, the judge was told.

"I am not satisfied to the requisite standard that either of these parents inflicted the injury," she said.

"Just like them, I do not know how the fracture was caused."

But she said she was "entirely satisfied" that a "number of features" in the baby's medical history could have led to a "degree of bone fragility".

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