NORTH KIRKLEES has been named as the worst area in the country for infant deaths.
According to figures from NHS England there were 13.2 deaths per 1,000 births in the district in 2014.
The rate applies to children who were stillborn or died within four weeks of their birth that year.
Nearby Huddersfield had a lower rate at 8.4 deaths per 1,000 births but was still among the highest in the country.
The national average of infant mortality stood at 7.1 deaths per 1,000 births in 2014.
Across England, 4,726 babies died within four weeks of their births out of 661,501 births.
Nationally there was a decrease of 2.74 per cent compared to the rate of 7.3 per 1,000 for 2013.
Factors such as poverty, poor accommodation, poor diets, smoking, alcohol and drug use are blamed for high infant mortality rates.
Kirklees health chiefs said that baby deaths had reduced significantly since 2000.
Public Health Kirklees, a council department which manages broad health issues in the borough, including infant mortality, said it was closing the gap.
A spokesperson for the organisation said: “Kirklees has had a higher infant mortality rate than the average for England for many years, but the gap has narrowed considerably in recent years.
“Public Health continues to work in partnership with key services to support, in particular those from vulnerable communities, to help reduce risk factors.
“In addition, the local authority also commissions key services such as the national award winning Auntie Pam’s, which provides a community-based, peer-led resource.
“The council monitors infant mortality on a rolling three-year average, as this is the most effective way to compare statistics like these because of the low numbers involved.
“Overall we have seen a decrease in infant mortality rates, with the rate for the last nine years being around five in every 1,000 live births.”