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New guidance to cut cot death risk

Fresh guidance has been issued in an attempt to reduce incidents of cot death in Northern Ireland.

The revised leaflet, which contains new advice in relation to breastfeeding and use of dummies, is published by the Department of Health and will be issued to all first-time mothers.

Although the number of cot deaths has fallen dramatically, the Department of Health is reiterating the main safety guidelines.

Acting chief medical officer, Dr Elizabeth Mitchell, said: "The unexpected death of a baby is a tragedy, but we know that since parents and carers have been following the risk reduction advice, the number of cot deaths has fallen by over 70%."

She added: "Most people are aware that you should always place your baby on its back to sleep. Also, falling asleep with your baby in bed, or on a chair or sofa, increases the risk of cot death, so babies should always be put back in their cot before you go to sleep."

Joyce Epstein, Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) director, said: "We warmly welcome the Department's new leaflet. The leaflet gives important new information to parents on safe infant care, and reinforces existing guidelines which parents should continue to follow."

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths