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Cot Death

Last night's InstMC dinner raised funds on behalf of the Scottish Cot Death Trust and included a personal speech by one of the trustees. The speech was very emotional and stirred some of my earliest memories. I had intended to write this post last year but found it too difficult. Last night’s dinner has motivated me to get round to writing it properly.

Left: Colin, Right: Alistair
Colin with his big brother
Left: Colin, Right: Alistair
Colin with his big brother

I had a brother called Colin who was 2 years, 10 months younger than myself however he only lived to be 18 weeks old. He died of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) also known as Cot Death. These are both fancy terms for "a child died and we don't know why".

I don't have many memories of him, I do remember that I liked to look at him when he was sleeping and regularly got told not to climb up on the back of the sofa when he was sleeping. I just wanted to look at him, though this would have risked waking him up.

On the day he died my main memory of that day was how upset my mummy was. I remember her running back and forward between the phone in the hallway and Colin in his pram. I remember her repetadly screaming on the phone "My baby! My baby has died!".

I didn't understand what was happening. I remember being worried that it was my fault - I kept climbing up to look at him and that must be why she was upset. I don’t remember much else about that day but I quickly accepted that I no longer had a baby brother in the house.

About six months later my mum told me that she was pregnant again and we were going to have another baby in the family. I asked, which seemed to a three year old to be a pretty logical question:
“Was this baby was also going to die?”

Scottish Cot Death Trust

That baby did not die. My sister ran the inverness half marathon last year in aid of the Scottish Cot Death Trust. The trust's aims are:

  • Fund research into the causes of cot death
  • Educate health professionals and the wider public about cot death and ways of reducing the risk
  • Help support for bereaved families

Please consider donating to the trust.

Thank you.

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