Refrigerated cuddle cot that allows grieving parents to say 'final goodbye' to dead babies coming to Sheffield

Gia-Marnie with mum Danielle.
Gia-Marnie with mum Danielle.
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Grieving parents will now be able to spend more time with their babies' bodies after their untimely deaths and say a 'final goodbye' thanks to a unique cot coming to Sheffield Children's Hospital.

Heartbroken relatives of little Gia-Marnie Smeath decided to take action after she died at the hospital aged just 18 weeks old from the effects of swine flu and other health problems in March 2016.

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They told how they got only a small window of a couple of hours to 'say goodbye' before Gia-Marnie's body had to be taken away to the mortuary.

The family has now raised the £1600 needed to buy a 'cuddle cot' for the hospital - a special piece of equipment that acts like a refrigerated bassinet and keeps the babies' bodies at the correct temperature allowing parents to stay with them for longer. .

The time-frame varies but generally it should give parents at least several hours longer with their children's body, which would also allow for other relatives who could be travelling from further away to see the child in a cot rather than in a mortuary.

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Gia-Marnie's auntie Hayley Davies, aged 27, of Oldham in Greater Manchester, said: "Seeing my niece in the mortuary was the most heartbreaking thing I've ever had to do.

"But families of children that have passed away will now be able to use the cuddle cot in my nieces' memory to spend extra time with their babies to say their final goodbyes and be able to grieve without the baby deteriorating so quickly.

"We are absolutely over the moon with the public's help with raising the funds.

"Without the public's help and generosity there is no way we would have been able to raise the funds as quickly as we have and we are overwhelmed with the response."

Sheffield got behind the fundraising push and a number of businesses also donated raffle prizes for charity nights. Sheffield United also gave free tickets to watch a match.

The money was raised within a few months.

Gia-Marnie's mum Danielle Ingham, aged 31, of Grimsby, said: "We could only spend around one-and-a-half-hours with her before she had to be taken away.

"If they had a cuddle cot we would have been able to say goodbye properly and tell her all the things we wanted to say to her.

"It (the cuddle cot) will help so many other families to say goodbye to their little angels and give them a little more time to do this."

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A spokesperson for Sheffield Children's Hospital said: "When a baby passes away it is an emotional and difficult time for the parents and there is only a small window of time for them to create memories.

"Cuddle cots allow them to spend precious extra time with their baby.

"We are very appreciative of the kindness and generosity of Gia-Marnie Smeath’s family and their thought for other families who sadly find themselves in the same situation."