ADT Degree Shows: The End Of Cot Death?

Kedleston Road campus 504x257 ADT Degree Shows: The End Of Cot Death?

Date posted: 15 June 2006

Is this the innovation to end the horror of cot death which kills one baby every week in the UK?

The 'Little Gem' baby crib's design draws inspiration from the mother's womb and has been developed by University of Derby student Gemma Maddocks as part of her final degree for BA Hons Creative Product Design and Marketing.

The 21-year-old, from Southgate Close, Mickleover, has been studying the causes of cot death, researching statistics and interviewing midwives and dozens of new parents over the last year.

She has created a baby crib modelled on the shape of the mother's womb which she feels the baby would most naturally be at home in. She has then used her research to design out potential causes of cot death and other perils for babies when asleep.

For example:

  • her cot is egg shaped to prevent the baby from rolling off its back and at risk of smothering
  • The 'Little Gem' features an inbuilt heartbeat sound and moves gently to soothe a baby
  • the egg shape uses convection to regulate the temperature for the baby to optimum levels
  • the base of the cot is positioned so the baby's head is elevated slightly above the stomach to prevent colic and reflux.

She said: "The key to the design is recreating a womb-shaped environment which the baby instinctively feels comfortable in.

"By simulating the womb, with an in built heartbeat sound, and the gentle movement, this helps settle the baby and reduce anxiety and crying. These two points are also factors in cot death, if babies experience long periods of crying they are at a greater risk of cot death.

"I took on board all of the concerns and anxieties of parents, listened to the advice of midwives and designed what I considered to be a modern product which answered all of the concerns raised by parents by designing out these problems.

"Everyone has been very positive. It does need safety trials and further development but it has answered many problems with traditional cots raised by the likes of the Midwifery Journal, and I am pleased with my final design."

Aimed at babies aged between zero and six months old, the 'Little Gem' would be manufactured from plastic mouldings and aluminium.

The crib basket itself can be unhooked from the main stand to allow a parent or carer to transport the baby in the crib basket manually around the house - thus providing a dual-purpose for the product.

The 'Little Gem' will be showcased at the New Designers' Exhibition in Islington, London, from July 3-9. Gemma has applied for a patent and is also seeking sponsorships to take the idea forward.

Terry Watson, Programme Leader for the BA (Hons) Creative Product Design and Marketing said: "The Little Gem design itself is an extremely practical interpretation of the needs of the newborn child.

"It reflects a 21st Century Moses Basket and with backing could certainly be a success on the market."

The University of Derby is holding an Open Day on Saturday, June 24 at our Kedleston Road campus, from 10am to 3pm.


For further information call: Simon Redfern, Senior Press and PR Officer, University of Derby on 01332 591942, email

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