National Committee on Infant Cremation: code of practice (second edition)

Key principles and minimum standards for all organisations conducting infant cremations, as agreed by the National Committee on Infant Cremation.

Code of Practice Level 2 - Crematoriums


1. This guidance relates to the single cremation of infants and babies ( i.e. not shared cremations). This guidance forms part of the overarching Code of Practice for Infant Cremation in Scotland.

2. All cremation authorities will ensure that they have published, and are compliant with, the agreed policy statement on infant cremation, issued to them by the National Committee on Infant Cremation.

3. The purpose of this guidance is to set down recommendations on approaches cremation authorities should use to maximise the recovery of any ashes in the cremation of an infant or child, where 'ashes' is defined as 'the material (other than any metal) to which human remains are reduced by cremation'. "Human remains" includes, where remains are clothed, in a coffin or with any other things, the clothing, coffin or other thing.

Practices for maximising the recovery of ashes

4. All crematoriums in Scotland should use baby trays, wherever practically possible, to maximise the recovery of ashes when cremating an infant or baby. Baby trays should be of robust construction to minimise buckling and scaling in the course of use, and should enable easy collection and removal of ashes. Cremation authorities must conduct a risk assessment on the use of baby trays, and ensure staff involved in the handling of baby trays have been appropriately trained and are aware of best practice.

5. In instances where a baby tray cannot be used eg a coffin is too large to fit into the tray, the technician must apply additional care and vigilance in order to maximise the recovery of any ashes.

6. Baby trays should be used in conjunction with other methods for maximising the recovery of ashes, including:

6.1 Manufacturer pre-programmed infant settings, or equivalent manual settings, must be used to restrict or eliminate the introduction of turbulent air into the primary chamber. There should also be minimal use of the primary chamber burner in order to create the best conditions possible for the recovery of ashes. Vigilance must be maintained, with manual adjustments of air and burner made when necessary in order to maximise the recovery of ashes. Advice should be sought from manufacturers/suppliers on the use of settings, and the age/weight/size of babies and infants where such settings should no longer be used.

6.2 Cremation of infants and babies at the end of the day, and cooling the tray containing ashes outside of the cremator overnight is acceptable, provided a risk assessment is conducted. Cremation authorities are advised to refer to their manufacturer for operational information before leaving ashes to cool within the cremator overnight, as in many instances the automatic introduction of turbulent cooling air during the close down process could result in fragile ashes being lost.

6.3 The coffin and baby tray should be placed just inside the cremator at the charge door end. Where possible the coffin and baby tray should be in view throughout cremation, so the process can be monitored.

6.4 In order to maximise the recovery of ashes, any ash resulting from cremation of an infant or baby should be appropriately processed, but not using a standard, adult cremulator.

6.5 Where the above approaches are adopted it is expected that the recovery of ashes will be maximised.

6.6 Baby cremators are not considered necessary to maximise the recovery of ashes, provided the other approaches recommended above are followed. Cremation authorities are however free to use baby cremators if they so wish.

Monitoring and Assurance

7. Cremation authorities will be expected to follow the above practices for all infant and baby cremations.

8. In any rare instance of non-recovery of ashes, Cremation authorities will have management plans in place that ensure a review of the cremation process is undertaken to understand why this was the case. The management plan will include notifying the Inspector of Crematoria within 48 hours of the situation occurring. The outcome of the review will be documented and will be available to next of kin and to the Inspector of Crematoria.

9. No crematorium can conduct infant cremations unless crematorium staff have been specifically trained and certificated by either the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management ( ICCM) or the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities ( FBCA).

10. In addition, all crematoriums must adhere to the requirements of Scottish Environmental Protection Agency ( SEPA) permits, and all crematoriums will be inspected by SEPA at regular intervals.

11. Professional guidance and training from professional membership bodies, including the FBCA and the ICCM reflects the above guidance.

12. The Inspector of Crematoria will, in the course of inspections of crematoriums, assess compliance against these above recommendations and requirements.


ICCM Crematorium Technicians Training Scheme information can be found at:

ICCM Policy and Guidance on the Sensitive Disposal of Fetal Remains can be found at:

ICCM Baby & Infant Funerals Policy can be found at:

FBCA "TEST" Training and Examination Scheme for Crematorium Technicians, revised July 2015 - Available to all current and future trainees registered under the FBCA training scheme.

FBCA "A Guide to Cremation and Crematoria" Instructions to Funeral Directors.

FBCA "A Guide to Cremation and Crematoria" Questions People Ask About Cremation.



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