Why 17?

Until recently, 17 babies died every day in the UK, the tragic victims of stillbirth or neonatal death. This statistic remained unchanged for many years.

In 2008 we launched the Why17? campaign to raise awareness of this devastating loss and to ask the question:

“Why are 17 babies a day dying and what can be done to halt this national tragedy?”

In 2015, the Office for National Statistics confirmed that the number of babies dying every day in the UK had fallen, to fewer than 16 a day in 2013.

However, this still means that over 100 babies died every week in the UK in 2013.  We are continuing to work with governments in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to push for the development of strategies to prevent the loss of babies’ lives and to fund vital research.


The Sands Why17? campaign ran from 2009 to 2014.  During that time, support for tackling stillbirth grew dramatically and initiatives are now underway in all four UK governments. 

While Sands welcomes the beginnings of a downward trend in recent years, we know much more can be done to bring rates down. We want to see the UK rate fall further, to 2–3 stillbirths per 1,000 births, as has been achieved in other countries.  We are continuing to campaign to reduce the numbers of deaths even further.  

A range of Why 17? merchandise is still available from our shop. All proceeds will go towards funding our ongoing work to save more babies' lives.