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The BBC's John Sudworth
"Many fathers may not be getting the message"
 real 56k

FSID National Co-ordinator Ann Deri-Bowen
"It is the leading cause of cot death in babies under one year"
 real 56k

Saturday, 9 June, 2001, 15:12 GMT 16:12 UK
Fathers urged to quit smoking
Baby being laid in cot
Health information was previously directed at mothers
A reduction in the number of cot deaths could be achieved by persuading fathers to give up smoking, according to new research.

Exposure to passive smoking has long been thought to increase the risk of cot death, but most of the health information has been targeted at women.

The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) believes the emphasis should shift towards men because the message is not getting through.

The organisation is targeting men to make them aware of the risks of smoking near very young babies.

Joyce Epstein from FSID said: "The mother-baby relationship is the one which gets the most attention and there tends to be a lack of awareness of the effect of things that dads do in relation to their baby's health."

Previous success

A high-profile campaign, backed by the television presenter Anne Diamond in the 1990s, had a major impact, encouraging parents to put their babies to sleep on their backs.

Cot deaths have fallen by 70% over the past decade, but sudden infant death syndrome still claims the life of one baby every day in the UK.

FSID has funded over 8m worth of research in hospitals and universities.

The evidence suggests there is no single cause of sudden infant death syndrome and that a number of factors may interact to bring about death in some babies at a vulnerable stage of development.

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See also:

06 May 01 | Health
Cot deaths under fresh scrutiny
16 Feb 01 | Health
Cot death gene claim
07 May 00 | Health
Twins in cot death study
23 Nov 00 | Health
Parents overlook cot death risk
02 Feb 00 | Health
Many cot deaths 'avoidable'
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