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Support and information when your child has died


We would like to offer you and your family our deepest sympathy following the death of your child. 

We are aware that this can be an extremely difficult and confusing time and you may not feel able to read all of the information now.

It may not answer all of your questions, so if there is anything else you would like to ask or talk about, please contact us.

Contact and information

Bereavement suite (mortuary) on 0114 271 7246.

Between 5pm and 9am, or on weekends and bank holidays, please contact the hospital switchboard on 0114 271 7000 who will arrange for a senior clinical person to call you.

The consultant involved in your child’s care is:

Your keyworker is:

Other relevant contacts:

What happens now?

We realise it is important for you to have time and support to make choices and decisions that are right for you and your family, particularly in the hours immediately after your child’s death. If you have any thoughts or questions, please take all the time you need to discuss these with us.

We can help you create some lasting memories by taking hand and footprints, a lock of your child’s hair and perhaps some photographs. Please let us know if there is anything else you would like to include.

your child’s nurse will transfer your child into the care of the bereavement suite staff. We appreciate how hard it must be to leave your child here with us at the hospital. You and your family will be able to make arrangements to visit them there if you want to.

If your child has a favourite toy, blanket or comforter, this can stay with them or you may bring it to them later.

We will inform your family doctor, midwife and health visitor or school nurse about what has happened so that they are aware you may need their support.

Please tell us if there is anything we can do that will support you.


Your keyworker is a person from the hospital who acts as a single point of contact for you and your family. Their role is to:

  • offer practical support and signpost you to other sources of support
  • communicate information about your child’s death review and any other processes you may have to go through
  • be your voice at meetings between professionals, making sure that any questions you have are addressed, and fed back to you afterwards

May I see my child?

You can see your child here at the hospital or you may choose to wait until they have been transferred to the funeral directors. 

The bereavement suite in the hospital is open Monday to Friday 8am till 4pm and has an appointment system. Within these hours you can make an appointment by contacting the bereavement suite on 0114 271 7246 or 0114 226 7809.

There are separate arrangements for weekends and bank holidays.


It is always important to contact the hospital bereavement suite before coming to see your child in order to make the appropriate arrangements and to avoid an unnecessary wait.

Can I take my child’s body home?

This may be possible if a post mortem is not required and the doctor has completed the medical certificate of death. You could take your child home or to the funeral directors, local hospice (if a room is available) or to another place of your choice. It is best to arrange this through a funeral director who can collect your child from the hospital and give you on-going advice and support.

There will be paperwork to complete before taking your child home, but the hospital staff will help with this and they will also help you with any arrangements.

Alternatively you may prefer to have your child at home the night before or on the day of the funeral and your funeral director will be able to arrange this with you.

If you are unsure or have any other questions, please feel free to discuss these with staff at the hospital or the funeral director.

Why was my child’s death referred to the coroner?

All unexpected deaths of children and young people under the age of 18 are reported to the coroner. The coroner is an independent judicial officer, appointed by the local council.

The coroner will consider the situation around your child’s death and decide what happens next.

The coroner may ask the doctor to issue a medical certificate of death.

The coroner’s officer will contact you first to discuss this and to understand whether you have any concerns about the death. Once the coroner is satisfied that there is no further need to investigate, they will instruct the doctor to issue. a certificate. The coroner will also send paperwork to the registrar of deaths, which will allow you to make a registration appointment.

The coroner may decide to investigate the death further, in which case a post-mortem examination could be needed.

This may be because:

  • your child’s death is sudden and unexpected
  • your child has been ill but the doctor confirming your child’s death is not certain why your child died at that particular time
  • your child’s death has been caused as a result of an accident or occurred in unusual circumstances
  • parental concerns

If this is the case, a certificate to register the cause of death will be issued by the coroner’s office at a later date and not by the hospital.

The staff at the coroner’s office will keep you informed of developments, including when your child can be released from the hospital. They will support you all they can and will answer any questions you may have.

The address and contact number for the coroner’s office is:

The Medico-Legal Centre
Watery Street
S3 7ES

Telephone on 0114 273 8721.

Coroner’s office is open are Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm, and is closed on weekends and Bank Holidays.

Please ask if you would like more detailed information about the coroner and their role.

The medical examiner

An independent doctor called a medical examiner will review the medical circumstances of the death of your child to make sure they received the appropriate care during their final illness.

You may receive a call from the medical examiner’s officer who will want to discuss the certificate the doctors are planning to issue and to ask if there are any concerns that you feel need to be looked at.

If you have any concerns, worries or comments that you feel able to talk about relating to your child’s death please discuss this when they call. If you feel unable to do so, please tell the bereavement services team and they can pass on any concerns on your behalf.

Medical examiner’s office telephone 0114 271 5354.

How do I find out about post mortem examinations?

Even if a medical certificate of death is issued, it is still sometimes possible to gain further information about an underlying illness or why a child has died by carrying out a hospital post mortem examination.

If the medical staff believe this would be helpful, they will discuss it with you.

Please do not hesitate to approach the doctors or nurses responsible for your child’s care if this has not been mentioned but you would like the opportunity to discuss it.

Please read our other resource on hospital post-mortem examination for more information.

When can I get my child’s death certificate?

If the cause of death is quite clear and due to a natural cause, following discussion and agreement with the coroner, the doctor will be able to complete a medical certificate of cause of death that records the date and the cause of death.

The medical examiner may also want to speak with you.

The certificate will be emailed to the registry office, there is no need to come back into the hospital if you do not want to.


If your child’s death has been referred and accepted by the coroner, the doctor cannot issue the medical certificate of death. This will be done after the coroner has completed their enquiries or inquest.

How do I register my child’s death?

Once you have been given a medical certificate of death, it is a legal requirement to register this death within 5 days of the death.

If the coroner is involved, you will not need to register your child’s death until the coroner’s office advises you to do so.

We can help you with making an appointment or you can make an appointment to register a death in Sheffield.

The address and contact number is:

Sheffield Register Office
Pinstone Street
S1 2HH

0114 203 9427

Tell Us Once service

When you register a death we will notify our other services and certain government agencies of your child’s death. This is a free voluntary service and means fewer phone calls, letters or emails for you.

Further information about the Tell Us Once service is available here.


Death certificates cost £11 each at the time of registration. Copy certificates cost £12 each.

It is usual to register the death in Sheffield if your child has died in this hospital. However if you prefer to register in your home town then you can do so, but this will cause a delay whilst they process the paperwork and send the information to the Sheffield Register Office who then send the certificate.

If you have not yet registered the birth of your baby, this can be done at the same time you register their death. Let the registrar know when you are making the appointment so that they can give you a longer appointment time.

The bereavement team can help you make an appointment to register or you can make your own arrangements.

What do I need to take to register?

To register your child’s death, you, or a representative, will need the medical certificate of the cause of death, which the doctor gave you, and the following information:

  • your child’s full name, home address, date and place of birth
  • the date and place of your child’s death
  • the full names, home addresses, places of birth and occupations of the parents

The registrar will register the death and issue you with a form to be given for the funeral director, which will let the funeral to take place.

The hospital Chaplaincy team

Healthcare chaplains offer care after death.

Healthcare chaplains are employed by the hospital and are responsible for the delivery of religious, spiritual and pastoral care for all patients and their families. They welcome being contacted by people of all faiths, spiritual and religious beliefs, as well as those who do not have any particular philosophy or faith.

Chaplains’ responsibilities include:

  • providing care and support for dying patients and their families
  • bringing comfort and prayerful support in times of distress
  • offering prayers or conducting a funeral service at or around the time of death
  • contacting your community

As experienced bereavement listeners, they offer a safe space to explore feelings and emotions surrounding death. This can be short or longer term support.

Contacting a chaplain

The chaplains are on D Floor, near the Blue lifts and stairs, at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Western Bank.

The chaplaincy telephone number is 0114 271 7338.

One of our hospital chaplains is usually on site Monday to Friday
between 8am and 5pm.

How do I arrange my child’s funeral?    

To make sure you know the funeral choices available to you should contact a funeral director of your choice as soon as possible. However, unless there are special religious or cultural reasons for holding a funeral quickly, there is no need to rush the funeral itself.

If, for religious or cultural reasons, you need the emergency registrar service please contact 07802 864178, or 07764 661143.

Children’s Funeral Fund

Bereaved parents do not have to pay the cost of their child’s burial or cremation after the Children’s Funeral Fund for England opened in July 2019.

Your funeral director will help you with this.

The funeral service

There are many different forms of services, both religious and non-religious, with or without music and readings, and so on.

You should discuss all the options and possibilities with your funeral director, religious leader or hospital chaplain. You do not have to hold a funeral ceremony in a set place. You may prefer to hold it in your own home.

It is really important that you plan the funeral that is right for you and your family.

Will I be able to ask the questions to the consultant involved in my child’s care?

When your child dies it can be difficult to take everything in and you can be left with questions. It is really important that you feel you have the opportunity to ask your questions.

About 8 weeks after your child’s death, the consultant’s secretary will usually contact you by letter with a date for you to meet with your child’s consultant, and possibly one of the nurses who looked after your child. This will provide an opportunity for you and the consultant to discuss your child’s condition, the events around their death and any other particular issues that you may want to discuss.

Sometimes, there are results of tests to pass on. You may find it helpful if you make a list of questions before the meeting so that you do not forget things.

This appointment is usually held in a room away from the ward area. However, if you feel you cannot return to the hospital, we can make alternative arrangements for this meeting.

If you do not feel ready or cannot attend on the suggested date please let us know and we can make a new appointment for a more convenient time.

If you do not receive an appointment or would like to see the consultant sooner please do not hesitate to contact the hospital to arrange this.

What is the Child Death Review?

The death of any child is a tragedy. Government legislation now requires every local Children’s Services Authority to review the circumstances of all child deaths up to the age of 18 years, once the details of your child’s death have been anonymised.

You can read more about this in the NHS England Child Death Review booklet.

The Lullaby Trust have a resource for parents called When a Child Dies which may be helpful.

Contact from the hospital

To make sure you always know when letters from the hospital concern the death of your child, all letter communication will be in a double envelope with a sticker on the inside envelope.

Support for siblings and other family members

Often one of the big worries for parents, if they have other children, is how the death of their sibling will affect them. Just like adults, children and young people will all handle it individually and may well have very different ways of coping.

The instinct is often to protect them from the pain of grief, but children and young people have told us they want honest information and to be involved and included.

Do not be afraid to show your feelings and to grieve together as a family.

Please make sure that their school is aware of what has happened so that they can put extra support in for them

How can my child be remembered within the hospital?

You and your family will be invited to the Remembrance Service which is held at the hospital, you will receive an invitation in the first 2 years.

If you cannot, or do not feel ready to come, the service is held every year. You and your family are welcome to attend whenever you want to.

Child Benefit or Child Tax Credit

Your Child Benefit payments may carry on for a short while after your child has died, usually for up to 8 weeks. This could help with some of the extra costs that you may face at this difficult time.

However if you do not tell the Child Benefit Office that your child has died, payments will continue after the 8 weeks. This means that over-payments would be need to be paid back which could be very distressing.

You will need to tell the Child Benefit Office as soon as possible that your child has died.

The Child Benefit Office will record this information and also pass it on to other departments within HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) that need to know, such as Child Tax Credit. That way you only have to contact HMRC once, but do check that this is possible and that they are able to do this for you.

If necessary the number for Tax Credit Helpline is: 0345 300 3900

You can contact HMRC by:

  • calling the Child Benefit Helpline on 0300 200 3100
  • online
  • writing to the Child Benefit Office

This is open from 8am till 8pm Monday to Friday and from 8am till 4pm on Saturday.

Child Benefit Office
PO Box 1
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE88 1AA

After informing them, check that your payments have stopped 8 weeks after your child’s death, if they are still paying you then please contact them straight away to avoid over-payment.

If your baby has died shortly after birth there is information on line about:

  • maternity pay and leave
  • maternity allowance
  • child benefit and child tax credit
  • Sure Start maternity grant
  • other benefits and entitlements

The death of a child is possibly the most difficult experience that any parent or carer has to face. Nobody can say how you will feel and no one’s experiences will be the same.

However, there may be times when you feel your emotions are totally out of control and although this is quite normal, it can be helpful to talk to someone at this time. Some people can find all the support they need from within their family, others may prefer to talk to someone who is not directly involved, and others a mixture of both.

Some of the support services available
in the community are:

  • GP
  • community midwife
  • health visitor
  • social worker
  • school nurse
  • community nurse
  • counsellors at GP’s surgery and counselling centres
  • Sheffield Talking Therapies on 0114 226 4380
  • minister or representative from your own faith or belief organisation
  • bereavement group is held once a month for bereaved parents and carers of children from Sheffield Children’s Hospital on 0114 271 7338

Further resources

A variety of national bereavement support organisations are available,
some of which are listed below. Please discuss your needs with your keyworker who will be able to help direct you find other options to get the right support for you and your family.


BLISS 0500 618 140

Child Bereavement UK 029 2081 0800

Child Death Helpline 0800 282 986

Compassionate Friends 0845 123 2304

Cruse Bereavement 0844 477 9400

Lullaby Trust 0808 802 6868

SANDS (Stillbirth and neonatal death) 0207 436 5881

Winston’s Wish 0845 203 0405

Is something missing from this resource that you think should be included? Please let us know

Contact us


Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

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Western Bank
S10 2TH

United Kingdom

Switchboard: 0114 271 7000

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