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1 February 2000

NEW INFANT SUDDEN DEATH RESEARCH "A MILESTONE"
FOR SAVING LIVES, SAY HEALTH VISITORS

New research into sudden deaths amongst infants has been hailed as "a milestone for saving hundreds of babies' lives a year " by the Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association (CPHVA) today (Tuesday, 1 February).

"It is a blueprint to assist health visitors in their efforts to further reduce the number of deaths in babies under one-year-old," said the CPHVA's Director, Jackie Carnell.

The CPHVA, which represents nearly 18,000 community practitioners throughout the UK, described the research Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy conducted by the Confidential Enquiry into Stillbirths and Deaths in Infancy in England and Wales as "excellent".

Ms Carnell said: "The report reinforces what health visitors have been saying for the last three or four years that babies should only sleep on their backs. Health visitors will continue to make sure that this message is a top priority for parents.

"Health visitors will redouble their efforts to persuade women not to smoke during pregnancy in light of the research. Babies should have a smoke-free environment and no one should smoke in the home where young children are present.

"Health visitors will now be advising parents not to share beds with their babies, if they have been drinking alcohol or taking illicit drugs.

"Health visitors will need to be more specific in their advice to parents about childhood illnesses and when to seek medical advice."

The CPHVA will be circulating a briefing paper to its members highlighting the report's findings.

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NOTE TO NEWS EDITORS

For further information, please contact:

Shaun Noble Press Officer 0171 939 7043 mobile 0468 69 39 40

The CPHVA is an autonomous professional section of the Manufacturing, Science and Finance union. The CPHVA represents more than 17,500 health visitors, school nurses, practice nurses and registered nurses working in the community in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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