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Low birthweight babies at higher risk of cot death

The national cot death charity, the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID), today called for parents of low-birth weight babies to be given more advice on how to reduce the risk of cot death, as the latest research shows they are at higher risk.

Figures released today by the Office of National Statistics show that babies born under 2.5kg were over five times more likely to die suddenly and unexpectedly than those of normal birth weight.

Francine Bates, FSID's Chief Executive, said: "It's well known that parental smoking increases a baby's risk of cot death but babies who are born underweight are also an extremely vulnerable group, particularly during the first month of life, so it's vital that their parents are given advice on how to reduce their risk.

"Sadly, today's statistics also reveal that in the last four years we have not seen a significant reduction in the rate of sudden infant death which has stubbornly remained at around 300 deaths per year.

"We especially need the help of health professionals and organisations working with parents to ensure that the safe sleep messages are not forgotten. It has been estimated that if every parent followed the Reduce the Risk advice we could halve the number of cot deaths in the UK."

Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths

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"It is very disappointing then that the DH leafet on reducing the risk of cot death which is widely distributed by health visitors is due to cease publication" - Carol Irish, London