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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

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14 cot deaths in county in six years

COT death is continuing to claim young lives in Cumbria.

Latest figures show there were 14 unexplained infant deaths in the county between 2004 and 2010.

Office for National Statistics research shows the north west had the highest rates for such deaths in England during 2010.

Cot death – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – is the sudden unexpected death of an apparently well infant. Its exact cause is not known, but it is more common in babies with a low birth weight or in those born prematurely.

Health chiefs in the county are urging parents to take steps to reduce the risk of their newborns falling victim.

Dr Rebecca Wagstaff, the county’s deputy director of public health, said: “Cot death is a sad event which is very traumatic for parents and families. Although we don’t know the exact reasons why it affects some babies and not others, there are steps parents can take to protect their children.

“One of the most important steps which parents or potential parents can take is to avoid smoking around their baby or unborn child because of the long term damage it can cause and the heightened risk of cot death.”

Steps to reduce the risk include:

Place your baby on its back to sleep.

For the first six months place the baby’s cot in the same room as you sleep in.

Do not smoke while pregnant.

Do not let anyone smoke in the same room as your baby.

Do not share a bed with your baby, especially if you’ve been smoking, drinking or taking drugs.

Never sleep with your baby in an arm chair or on a sofa.

Do not let your baby get too hot.

Use sheets and thin blankets in your baby’s cot and don’t use duvets or pillows.

Tuck the baby’s blanket firmly around them no higher than their shoulders.

Do not cover the baby’s head.

Place your baby in the feet to foot position, with their feet at the end of the cot or pram.

At five or six months old, babies will start rolling over by themselves, but the risk of cot death dramatically reduces at this age.

Help on stopping smoking is available by 01900 324222, texting QUIT to 82540 or by visiting a pharmacy.

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