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Wednesday, 20 November, 2002, 14:32 GMT
Shops fail to flag up cot death precautions
Baby
Babies should sleep on their backs
Baby shops have been accused of undermining lifesaving advice to reduce cot deaths.

The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) has carried out a "secret shopper" survey of the marketing of baby products in stores in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

It found:

  • 59% of shops marketed duvets/quilts without warnings not to use them for babies aged under one year. Duvets and quilts increase the risk of cot death.
  • 67% of shops failed to ensure display cots are made up to demonstrate the "feet to foot" position.
The Department of Health recommends that babies be laid in the cot with their feet at the foot of the cot, with blankets tucked in and made up so they reach no higher than the shoulders. This is to prevent wriggling down under the covers.

Precautions
Babies should sleep on their backs
Keep your baby's head uncovered
They should sleep with their feet at the foot of their cot
They should be tucked in to stop them wriggling
They shouldn't get too hot
They shouldn't be exposed to smoking
Bedding which covers a baby's head poses a risk of cot death.

The researchers also found that independent shops were more likely to undermine the 'reduce the risk of cot death' message than chain stores.

Shops in the North of England were the most likely culprits.

Every opportunity

Joyce Epstein, FSID director said: "Cot death claims the life of a baby every day in the UK and lifesaving advice needs to be offered at every opportunity.

"We are very disappointed to see so many baby shops undermine the safe sleep message.

"Shops must do better, particularly smaller shops and shops in the North."

Dr Angela McLoughlin, a lecturer in health visiting and FSID trustee said shops' failure to provide advice was confusing parents.

"Manufacturers and retailers need to be responsible and learn that there's more to think about than matching nursery equipment if we are to give babies the chance of a lifetime.

"Clear advice about safer sleeping is all we are asking of manufacturers and retailers of baby products.

"This is not complicated advice but it could just save a baby's life."

See also:

01 Nov 02 | Health
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