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Dummy 'can help prevent cot death.

Using a dummy appears to reduce the risk of a baby dying from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), research has suggested.

A study in California questioned the mothers or carers of 185 infants who died and 312 other parents, asking about factors such as dummy use and environmental factors which increase the risk of cot death.

The researchers, whose study is published online in the British Medical Journal, concluded that using a dummy during sleep was linked to a 90 per cent reduced risk of SIDS compared to babies who did not use a dummy.

Cot death rates have fallen in recent years, but it still claims the lives of 300 babies less than a year old in the UK every year.

No single cause has been identified but there are several things that are recommended to reduce the risk.

The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) says that parents should avoid exposing their child to smoke, put the baby to sleep on its back and keep it cool with the head uncovered.

Babies should not be allowed to sleep in their parents' bed but in a cot in the same room, at least during the first six months.

The latest study was carried out by the research division at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California.

The researchers, led by Dr De-Kun Li, also found that dummy use appeared to help reduce the impact of other risk factors for cot death, such as sleeping with a mother who smoked.

They said: "Use of a dummy is associated with a substantial reduction in the risk of SIDS.

"Our results also provide evidence use of a dummy may reduce the impact of other risk factors for SIDS."

The researchers concluded that the use of dummies may be an effective strategy for public health intervention
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 9, 2005
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