Tuesday, July 27, 1999 Published at 12:22 GMT 13:22 UK
Warning after salt kills baby
The couple found baby food too expensive
Parents of a three-month-old baby who suffered fatal brain damage from a salt overdose have warned others not to feed their infants adult food.
But salt in the food, which included breakfast cereal and mashed potatoes and gravy, overwhelmed the child's delicate digestive system and caused massive brain damage.
Parents compared ingredients
Leroy's parents fed him a porridge cereal, and say many of their friends feed their baby in a similar fashion.
His mother, Joanne Short, 20, told the BBC: "We are really surprised that a food that is supposed to be so good could harm a baby in this way.
"It's still like we are in a dream."
An inquest on Monday was told that Leroy's body contained nine grammes of salt, the average daily intake for an adult but enough to kill a baby, whose immature kidneys can only process a tiny fraction of that amount.
Accidental death verdict
His parents, from Doncaster, south Yorkshire, said they compared the ingredients listed on a packet of Ready Brek breakfast cereal with those of baby food and they appeared the same.
Coroner Stanley Hooper, recording a verdict of accidental death, said: "I am satisfied death came about because the baby was fed adult food, in particular Ready Brek, for reasons of cheapness.
"Like so many prepared foods these days, adult food contains salt for reasons of flavour and cheapness. In everyday things there is quite a lot of salt.
"It may be that various lessons can be learned from this tragic case."
The British Nutrition Foundation said it was extremely rare for a baby to die from salt overdose.
Government-recommended salt levels for infants are lower than for adults because of concerns over organ damage.
But experts say severely restricting salt, which occurs naturally in many foods, can also cause problems.