News A Save the Children organised event at Al Zaatari refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the Syrian border, last month

The charity defends itself from claim it refrained from criticising its backers

Yawning gap for parents

More than a million parents are suffering the torture of sleep deprivation inflicted by young children.

Sister cleared of killing baby

A woman who grew up thinking she had killed her baby brother when she was a toddler has been told by authorities investigating the case that her stepfather killed him and framed her.

Is it right to promise heaven to a dying child?

When should we lie to children? The question was posed for me in its sharpest form yesterday by a friend - a priest - who sent me a copy of the funeral service for a six-year-old boy. The child had died of cancer, and he had some idea of what was coming. Some people believe that children can't understand death, but I have no doubt that they can understand as much of it as they need to; perhaps that is as much as adults do.

Better advice brings big fall in cot deaths

Fewer infants are dying in England and Wales because parents are now heeding advice to prevent cot deaths, experts say.

Letter: Latin is dead, long live English

Sir: Trevor Cox (Letters, 10 May) suggests that Latin may serve as a common language for Europe and Dr Peter Jones claims it helps children with grammar and romance languages. Esperanto is much more useful.

Letter : Geldof heading for second halo

Sir: All Bob Geldof has to do to bring "the rights of wronged fathers to public attention" ("Geldof becomes fathers' champion", 30 September) is to keep on telling the world how much he loves his children, regardless of how much time he has managed to spend with them. A second halo, the one so commonly awarded to Good Fathers, will duly be conferred upon Saint Bob.

Survey reveals one in four women smoke during pregnancy

One in four women smoke during pregnancy despite the increased risk of miscarriage or still-birth, a new study reveals. One-third miss out on crucial preparation by not planning their baby, according to the survey of 400 pregnant women.

Letters: Pregnant with moral dilemmas

Sir: I agree with Eric Stockton (letter, 10 August) that every woman should ask herself two questions. These questions should, however, be: "do I want a child?" and "have I reasonable prospects of giving any child a fair chance in life?" If the honest answer to either of these questions is in the negative then the woman has a moral obligation to avoid sexual intercourse, or take measures to prevent pregnancy. This is the point at which every woman has the choice.

Letter: Face to face with Ulster's politics of fear

Sir: Kevin McGimpsey (letter, 15 July) asks, "Why is the [loyalist] child unable to grow up and mix with its neighbours?" The answer is that the neighbours keep throwing bombs at it. So far it has shown restraint in not throwing them back.

LETTERS: Preventive aims of Child Safety Week

Sir: There seems to be some confusion over the aims of Child Safety Week. We read with interest the two letters (27 June) which give the impression that "less than 700" accidental child deaths are somehow acceptable. Perhaps that statement could be put to a parent who has lost their child to an accident.

Letters: Places to play

Sir: Stuart Walton (25 June), expressed the anxiety of a growing number of parents and professionals concerned with the long-term health and wellbeing of our children.

Letters: Taxing the childless

Sir: Your correspondent Anne Copley (Letters, 19 June) offers her respect for Fran Abrams's decision not to have children and then makes the startling statement "but she is missing out". How can she possibly know?

Benefits Agency to end freephone advice service

The Benefits Agency is to end its freephone advice service from 12 July - saving pounds 6.5m. Some 3 million calls a year are made on the "Freeline", but an agency review found that many customers had then to be referred to their local benefits office to pursue the inquiry. Last March, the Independent disclosed the plan to scrap the Freeline as part of a pounds 200m programme of social security cuts.

Letter: Unborn rights

Sir: It is time to change the abortion laws if we are to avoid the careless disposal of life recorded in Friday's Independent ("Aborted baby lived 45 minutes", 10 May). In generations to come, people will look back with disbelief at our scant regard for the rights of unborn children.

Renaming 'Jamie': Letter

Sir: Your articles about the High Court ruling against Michael Howard's 15-year tariff on Robert Thompson and Jon Venables (3 May) refer to the murder of "Jamie" Bulger. The child's Christian name was James: this is what his parents and relations called him, and how they always knew him. "Jamie" is a media coinage: it is the name, not of a real boy, but of an icon or emblem. To continue using it is not only disrespectful to the Bulger family. It also prevents us from thinking wisely and dispassionately about a case which involves the fates of two other young children.
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