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Sudden Infant Death (cot death)

This is more commonly known as ‘cot death’.

This usually occurs in young babies from the ages of one week to two years.

There is no explanation for this despite lots of research being carried out and is a most traumatic time for all concerned.

Research into the subject have found that there are certain preventative measures which can reduce the risk however this does not mean that it can be reduced altogether.

The following is a list of preventative measures

  • Both parents should stop smoking prior to pregnancy
  • Do not let anyone smoke in the same room as your baby
  • Always place your baby on his or her back when placing him or her down to sleep in the cot. Place your baby as near to the foot of his or her cot as you can. This measure prevents the baby being free to wriggle about and being able to move the bedclothes
  • Never place a pillow in the cot and use as firm mattress as possible
  • Never wrap your baby up in bedclothes. Keep your baby’s head uncovered and pull the bedclothes up to shoulder height only.
  • Never have too many heavy bedclothes on the bed. Use light sheets and blankets which can be added and removed as necessary.
  • Never have the room too hot. Do not place the cot too near to any heat source such as a radiator or fire. Keep the temperature of the room constant.
  • Try and keep your baby in the same room as you for the first six months. If this not possible then purchase a baby monitor and carry out regular checks during the night on your baby.

    Sudden and unexplained infant death syndrome must be investigated by the police.
  • This adds further distress to the grieving parents as many questions will be asked and also the baby’s bedclothes may be taken away for forensic examination.

    There may also be a ‘post mortem’ carried out on the baby to establish the cause of death. When a post mortem is carried out, there may be biological samples taken aswell as parts of the baby’s brain. These samples need to be analysed and the results may take up to six weeks.

    Once a post mortem is carried out and a cause of death established, a death certificate will be issued by the pathologist. This certificate will be needed for funeral arrangements to be made. If a cause of death is not established at the post mortem, then the baby will be kept in storage until the results of the samples have been established. After this then the baby will be released and a death certificate published.

    Most undertakers have special pricing arrangements for ‘baby deaths’.

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