For immediate use
30 August 2006
FSID ref: 13/06
FSID arranged for a Teddy Bear giveaway to celebrate the fall in cot deaths and to commemorate the lives of babies who died suddenly and
unexpectedly in 2005.
Joyce Epstein, FSID‟s Director said:
“Many people think that the cot death problem is solved, because of the fantastic
success we‟ve had in saving babies over the past decade or so. But cot death remains
the leading cause of death in babies over one month old, claiming more lives than
accidents, meningitis, leukaemia and other cancers put together. The teddy bear give
away is intended to draw attention to the vital need for more research into sudden
infant deaths to prevent that many hundreds of babies from dying each year in future.”
Why do babies die suddenly and unexpectedly?
Response from the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths to the latest
figures for sudden unexpected deaths in infancy released by the Office for
1Latest figures released today show that 300 babies under the age of one year died
2suddenly and unexpectedly for no apparent reason in the UK in 2005. This marks a
16% fall compared with the previous year‟s figures. This is part of a continuing trend -
numbers of cot deaths have fallen from 377 to 300 since 2001 (a fall of 25.7%) and the
cot death rate from 0.563 to 0.415 per 1,000 live births, a fall of 25.3%. However
1 Health Statistics Quarterly. 31. The Office for National Statistics. August 2006. 2 This figure includes deaths registered as Sudden Infant Death (any mention) and unascertained ages 0-1
years in Northern Ireland and Scotland.
there has been no fall in the total infant or post neonatal infant mortality rate. This
suggests that better investigation is defining the cause of death in more babies. But the
same numbers of babies are dying and this needs further enquiry.
While this is very welcome news, more research is needed to explain these deaths and
to give us more ways to reduce the risk of cot death.
Dr Richard Wilson, paediatrician and FSID trustee said:
“Every year 300 apparently healthy babies die suddenly and unexpectedly in the
UK. If the same number of people were involved annually in a fatal plane or
train crash there would be outrage and investigations.
Research has revealed some of the ways to reduce the risk of cot death but the
causes of most of these tragedies remain unknown. Bereaved parents ask us
the all-consuming question of „why did my baby die?‟ and they deserve answers.
With better investigations into baby deaths, answers are found. The advice to
reduce the risk of cot deaths has cut deaths by 75% and we need to look at
ways of preventing other sudden infant deaths.
Parents need to know how to protect their baby from cot death. Key
messages and more can be found in our BabyZone booklet available by calling
FSID‟s Helpline on 020 7233 2090”.
Notes to editors:
1. FSID is the UK‟s leading baby charity working to prevent sudden infant deaths
and promote baby health. FSID funds research (over ?9 million to date),
promotes health advice to parents and professionals and supports bereaved
families. FSID is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and is the
principle funder of research in the UK.
2. People can make a donation to fund new research projects by calling FSID‟s
fundraising hotline on 020 7222 8003.
3. Interviews should be possible with FSID representatives and cot death parents.
4. Advice for parents on how to reduce the risk of cot death:
? Cut smoking in pregnancy - fathers too!
? Do not let anyone smoke in the same room as your baby
? Place your baby on the back to sleep
? Do not let your baby get too hot
? Keep baby‟s head uncovered - place your baby with their feet to the foot of the
cot, to prevent wriggling down under the covers
? If your baby is unwell, seek medical advice promptly
? The safest place for your baby to sleep for the first six months is in a cot in
? Do not share a bed with your baby
o if you or your partner are smokers (even if you never smoke in bed or
in the home)
o have been drinking alcohol
o take medication or drugs that make you drowsy
o feel very tired.
o or if your baby was born premature or small at birth, or is less than
three months old
There is also a risk that you might roll over in your sleep and suffocate your
baby, or that your baby could get caught between the wall and the bed, or
could roll out of an adult bed and be injured.
? Never sleep with a baby on a sofa or armchair
Sarah Kenyon, Communications manager
020 7227 5212 / 020 7222 8001 / 07981 899 827
Stacey Kerr, Communications officer
020 7227 5210 / 020 7222 8001
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