§ Mr. Oppenheim
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she is able to report the outcome of the work of the expert group on the sleeping position of infants and cot death.
§ Mr. Sackville
We have today arranged for the publication of the report of the Chief Medical Officer's expert group on the sleeping position of infants and cot death. Copies are being placed in the Library.
The main recommendations, confirming existing advice, are:Infants should not be laid to sleep on their fronts, except in particular circumstances on medical advice, and that the great majority of infants should be nursed on their backs.Infants should not be exposed to cigarette smoke either before birth or afterwards.Infants should not be overwrapped or overheated, especially when they are feverish or unwell.
Since the launch of the Government's "Back to Sleep" campaign in 1991, the numbers of cot deaths in the post-neonatal period—from the end of the first month of life until the end of the first year—have halved from 1.25 per 1,000 live births in 1991 to 0.63 per 1,000 live births in 1992.