After the death of a much longed for baby or child, thinking about what to do next can feel completely
overwhelming. Whether your baby or child died at home or in hospital, you do have options. Every parent reacts
differently and how each decides to say goodbye to their precious son or daughter will vary. There is no right or
wrong way – it is a very personal decision. There are choices and this information sheet will touch on some of the
options available to you. It also includes links to other organisations who may be of help. Knowing that you have
choices will hopefully help you to feel that any decisions made, or arrangements planned, were the right ones
for you and for your baby or child.
Taking your child home
Some parents choose to say goodbye to their baby or child by having them at home for a time before the
funeral. In most cases this should be possible, even when a post mortem examination has been performed.
If your child has died in hospital and you wish to take theme home yourself you should be given a form by the
hospital staff that confirms your child’s body has been released to you. Alternatively you can ask for help with
this from from the funeral director who can bring your child home for you should this be your preference.
Although arranging a funeral can be painful and distressing, it is an important step in saying goodbye. It can be
helpful to take a few days to decide what is right for you as a family as your first reaction may not be your final
choice. You can choose to have a burial or cremation, a religious or non-religious service, in a church, at the
graveside, in your home or anywhere else appropriate. There is no requirement for a religious minister to be
When a baby dies in hospital, the hospital can make the arrangements for you if you feel unable to do this
yourself. It is helpful to find out what sort of funeral the hospital would provide.
If you wish to use the services of a funeral director, it can be a good idea to contact several for an estimate of
the costs involved, or to ask a friend to do this on your behalf. Many funeral directors will not charge for their
basic funeral service for a baby or a child. However, if you wish to have a burial, there will be a cost associated
with purchasing a grave, which can be quite expensive in some areas. Should you wish to carry out the entirety
of the funeral yourself, independent of a funeral director, the Cemetery and Crematorium Department of your
local authority should be able to provide you with advice and guidance.
If there are other children in the family, to help them feel included in this important event, try to involve them in
discussions about the funeral. They might like to contribute a favourite song, poem or reading. Provided they
are prepared for what they will see and hear, if they are offered the option to attend the funeral or a special
goodbye, most find it helpful. You may want to ask another adult who is close to the children to help support
them if they choose to come to the funeral. The CBUK information sheet Explaining Funerals, Burial and Cremation to children has more guidance.
We Need to Talk About The Funeral by Smith and Morell
This book explains the wide choices that are available around the type of ceremony, coffin, music and much
more. Although written mainly for adult funerals it offers ideas suitable for a child or baby.
Memorials by Artists for Young People, Children and Babies by Harriett Frazer
A guide to helping families find a memorial to celebrate the life of a child from birth to 30 years old.
SANDS – stillbirth and neonatal death charity Tel: 020 7436 5881
“Saying goodbye to your baby.” A very helpful, practical leaflet which guides bereaved parents through the
many decisions and tasks that have to be dealt with when a baby dies after miscarriage, stillbirth or shortly after
Compassionate Friends Tel: 0845 1232304
“Preparing our child’s funeral” A short leaflet offering suggestions to think over around the funeral. More
suitable for a child rather than a baby.