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Baby and infant funeral guidance

Information for Bereaved Parents.

A Message to Our Bereaved Parents

The loss of a baby at any stage of pregnancy or shortly after birth is a very traumatic and difficult time. We are here to support, guide and help you through the process as much as we can. The information here explains your options and helps you make decisions about the funeral arrangements for your baby.

BCP Bereavement Care has adopted the Charter for the Bereaved and are committed to providing the highest level of service for little ones and their bereaved parents/families. Remember, it is your right to be able to arrange a private funeral that meets your wishes, whether they be religious or simply personal to you, at a cemetery or crematorium of your choosing. Alternatively, most hospitals will plan for a communal cremation service, which is explained on this page.

The information below is designed to help you make decisions about your preferred choices and the options available within BCP Bereavement Care, for you to read as and when you feel ready to do so.

Further help is also available through the Bereavement Care Offices, Funeral Directors, and the University Hospitals Dorset Patient Affairs Department.

Your Choices

Many NHS hospitals offer to organise and pay for a funeral for a baby who dies at any stage of pregnancy or shortly after birth. Parents can usually attend the funeral and can also usually make some decisions about the kind of service and how they will participate. Alternatively, you can take full control and arrange a private funeral.

Burial Options

We have dedicated children’s sections within North Cemetery, Kinson Cemetery, Jumpers Road Cemetery (Christchurch), Poole Cemetery (Snowdrop Garden)

Our children’s graves are small and can accommodate a burial of a child up to the age of approximately 5/6 years old, or multiple burials of cremated remains. We can accommodate burials of older children within our adult sections of the cemeteries. This gives you the option as parents/carers to be reunited with your little one when the time comes, having a full body burial for yourselves if you so wish.


If you wish to have a headstone for your little one, you will first need to purchase the ‘Right of Burial’ to the grave space. Purchase forms can be downloaded here or contact the office directly for more guidance. We can help you to choose your stonemason and guide you through fees that may be applicable.

Cremation Options

At Bournemouth Crematorium we welcome individual cremation services and/or communal cremation services, usually organised either through the hospital, or, via a Funeral Director of your choice.

Communal services

These are where various babies, below 24 weeks’ gestation, are committed for cremation together. These services take place on the last Tuesday of every month at 10am, with babies from both Bournemouth and Poole Hospital being cared for within one service.

Some parents can draw comfort from knowing that their baby has been laid to rest with others. Ashes recovered from the communal cremation are scattered in the Butterfly Garden within the natural flower area. The scattering takes place on the 15th day after the date of the cremation service, at 9.30 am, with parent(s) and families welcome to attend. We have adopted the Institute of Cemetery and Crematoria Management policy and good practice guidance for the sensitive recovery of ashes

Commemorative Memorialisation

We offer a range of fitting commemorative memorials and tributes for you to choose from. Our dedicated Baby Butterfly Garden, located at the Bournemouth Crematorium/North Cemetery, is a place of reflection and contemplation to the memory of all children.

You are welcome to visit the Butterfly Garden and discuss your options with a member of our team. The strewing of the cremated remains of babies can be scattered in the Butterfly Garden within the natural flower area.


Financial Support

We will guide you through all your options for financial support and claim back fees from the Children's Funeral Fund (CFF) where possible. All cremation and burial fees that are incurred and claimable from the CFF will be done directly from the Bereavement Care Office and/or your Funeral Director, taking the stress and worry away from you.

Financial guidance and support can be found via:

Child Funeral Charity – Financial Support for Families

Hospital Support in Making Funeral Arrangements

The hospital authorities generally do not charge for making burial or cremation arrangements. They also pay any necessary cemetery or crematorium fees. Some hospitals offer burial as well as cremation, whilst others offer cremation only.

Where your preference is burial and the hospital only offers cremation, you will need to consider making a private arrangement as outlined below.

If you prefer the hospital to make arrangements, it is important that you speak to the appropriate officer at the hospital so that you are aware of the date and time of the funeral.

Funeral Director support in Making Funeral Arrangements

You can make your own funeral arrangements should you wish. You would then have full control of the arrangements, including where and when the funeral is to take place.

You would be responsible for any costs associated with the funeral, where applicable. Whilst it might be a difficult task, you are advised to speak to more than one Funeral Director before making any decision.

This is to ensure you are comfortable with the Funeral Director of choice and are clear as to what fees they may charge.

Should you wish to continue yourself without using a Funeral Director, we can assist you by showing you the available options and giving practical help and advice regarding certificates and forms required.

Useful contacts

University Hospitals Dorset (NHS)

Bournemouth Hospital

01202 303626

Royal Bournemouth Hospital | part of the University Hospitals Dorset (

Poole Hospital

01202 665511

Poole Hospital | part of the University Hospitals Dorset (

Christchurch Hospital

01202 486361

SANDS - The Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity is a well-known national organisation that provides help and support to bereaved parents via a network of local groups. It is based at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in London and is a registered charity (registered charity number 299679) 

SANDS Helpline on 0808 1643332 is available if you would like to speak to someone or be put in touch with your nearest SANDS group.