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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 September 2005, 10:53 GMT 11:53 UK
Cot death advice variations found
Foundation for the Study of Infant Death campaign
A scene from the information sticker
Almost a third of parents with young babies do not receive, or do not remember, advice on how to prevent cot death, a survey has found.

The Foundation for the Study of Infant Death, which carried out the research, says it shows information is patchy.

They have developed a sticker which can act as a constant reminder to parents of how to reduce the risk of cot death.

Such deaths have fallen in recent years, but still claim the lives of 300 babies under one in the UK every year.

Put your baby to sleep on its back
Do not expose your child to smoke
Keep your baby cool, with its head uncovered
Babies should not sleep in their parents bed, but should be in a cot in the same room for at least the first six months

The Foundation for the Study of Infant Death (FSID) said parents should receive advice on reducing cot death during the pregnancy, but often do not get information until much later.

Of the 162 parents surveyed, 31% said they had not had or could not remember discussing cot death.

Advice 'too late'

But the situation varied depending on where the baby was born.

In London, only 54% remembered talking through the risks, but 87% in Northern England had been told how to minimise them.

And more than half (51%) of parents who did remember professionals discussing cot death with them, said it took place after the birth.

FSID say it is important to get advice early as cot death can be reduced by cutting smoking during pregnancy.

Joyce Epstein, director of FSID, said: "Promotion of advice to reduce the risk of cot death is patchy, varying according to where the baby is born, and may come too late, after inappropriate bedding is bought or other unsafe arrangements made."

She said that if everyone followed measures to reduce the risk of cot death, the number of babies affected could be cut by half.

FSID hope the stickers which have been designed will act as reminders of the best advice for reducing cot deaths.

The stickers are being sent to maternity units and Sure Start programme centres across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Ms Epstein added: "We are sending the stickers to midwives and health visitors to encourage them to stick the new resource on the mother's notes when she first meets with her midwife in pregnancy, stick them on the hospital cot and for health visitors to stick it on the baby's health notes, to prompt discussion at every stage."

Midwife Sally Inch said: "Midwives are doing a fantastic job around the country but often lack the resources to make the lifesaving cot death advice stick.

"Hopefully these colourful new stickers will help all parents remember how to give their babies the chance of a lifetime."

Bed-sharing fear over cot deaths
08 Jul 05 |  Scotland

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