Infant and baby policy

Reading Crematorium is committed to the sensitive and respectful care of all of those entrusted to us. Our policies and processes for infant cremation are aligned to the latest guidance on Infant Cremation, as per the advice of Lord Bonomy’s Infant Cremation Commission (June 2014 Scotland). Full statement here:

In accordance with this guidance, which is fully supported by the national representative bodies (the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities (FBCA), the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM), the Cremation Society of Great Britain (CSGB) and the Association of Private Crematoria and Cemeteries (APCC)) our ashes policy is set out below:

Definition of ashes

In line with Lord Bonomy’s proposals, the crematorium believes cremated remains and ashes to be one and the same thing. This supports the commission’s definition that ashes are “all that is left in the cremator at the end of the cremation process, and following the removal of any metal.”

Return of ashes

Our approach to the cremation of babies and infants is designed to maximise the recovery of ashes. This includes using a cremation tray to hold the ashes where possible, and care to reduce the loss of any ashes during the cremation.

We will employ best practice, for example the use of specialist computer programmes and metal trays. Our staff will watch out for any need to adjust cremation procedures in order to protect the ashes and maximise their retrieval.

We are confident that the equipment and processes adopted for infant cremation at Reading Crematorium maximise the likelihood of recovering ashes. In any rare instance of non-recovery of ashes, we will conduct a review of the cremation process within 48 hours to understand why this is the case. The results of this review will be documented and contain details of any adjustments of our procedure deemed to be necessary, and will be available to next of kin/parent(s) if they wish to view these. We will adhere to our identification procedure that guarantees that the ashes resulting from individual cremations returned to parents are those of their baby.

Shared cremations

Where a shared cremation has been authorised, meaning ashes are not individually identifiable, we will take the same care throughout the cremation process. This will include steps to maximise the recovery of ashes. We will scatter/bury the ashes within the crematorium’s designated area. The location will be recorded for future reference.

Disposal of ashes

Concerning disposal of ashes after a private cremation, the crematorium will only act on the written instruction of the parent who is the Applicant for Cremation or another person nominated in writing by the parent.

In the case of shared cremations we will only act on the written instruction of the designated person at the relevant hospital, who is acting as the Applicant.

Ashes will be held at the crematorium for up to 10 weeks to await collection by representatives or instructions as to their disposal. Where no further instructions have been received within the four week period, a further fourteen days’ notice will be given in writing to the applicant. Once the fortnight has gone by, a final letter will be sent telling the representative that the ashes will be scattered within the grounds of the crematorium in 30 days if no further instructions have been received.

Disposal of metals

The applicant should give consent for disposal of metals recovered from an individual cremation and the applicant will be provided with information on the options available.


All cremations of babies and infants will be registered at the crematorium. The information contained in forms and certificates will be retained indefinitely (this may be in electronic form).

If ashes are scattered or buried within the grounds of the crematorium the final resting place will be recorded. Where ashes are to be collected, the details of any person authorised by the applicant to remove/collect the ashes, and the date on which the ashes were collected will be recorded.

The policy of this Cremation Authority is designed to give an audit trail from initial funeral instructions to the final disposal of ashes (whether by collection from the crematorium or by scattering or burial in the Gardens of Remembrance).

Questions or queries

If you have any questions or queries about the cremation of your baby, you can speak a member
of the crematorium team.

Last updated on 09/12/2019