Safer sleep for babies is lifesaving

The Lullaby Trust states that sadly around 3 babies a week still die from sudden infant death syndrome and if all parents were aware of safer sleep advice many lives could be saved.

Safeguarding midwives from North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust are sharing advice for making sure babies are sleeping in the safest way and in the safest place.

Claire Bainbridge, lead midwife for safeguarding said: “Babies’ airways are vulnerable, particularly in the first few months of life, so it is important that parents and carers are aware of this and the actions they can take to protect them.

“The simplest way to do this is by sleeping a baby on their back on a firm, flat surface with no padded or cushioned areas. This will help to keep their airways open and reduce the risk of suffocation and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). A cot, Moses basket, bassinet, carry cot, or crib all fulfil these criteria.”

“Never fall asleep on a sofa or armchair with your baby. The risk of SIDS is 50 times higher for babies when they sleep on a sofa or armchair with an adult.”

Safe sleep basics:

·       Sleeping position: Always put your baby on their back for every sleep, day and night, as the chance of SIDS is particularly high for babies who are sometimes placed on their front or side.

·       Clear cot: Babies are at higher risk of SIDS if they have their heads covered, so it is safest to keep baby’s cot clear of any items such as bumper, toys and loose bedding.

·       Room temperature: It is important to make sure that your baby’s room is a comfortable temperature – not too hot or too cold. The chance of SIDS is higher in babies who get too hot. Try to keep the room temperature between 16 -20°C.

·       Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding lowers the risk of SIDS. Breastfeeding for at least 2 months halves the risk of SIDS but the longer you can continue the more protection it will give your baby.

Many baby products on the market are not suitable for babies to sleep in, even some which are designed for this purpose. The Lullaby Trust’s guide: How to choose baby sleeping products, aims to empower parents with the knowledge to make informed choices about their baby’s sleeping place and understand why some products are not suitable for baby sleep and how to identify and avoid them.

Claire finished by saying: “The Lullaby Trust offers a wide range of really good advice on their website for lots of different circumstances. I would urge new families and those who are about to welcome a baby to take a look. With more awareness and more families following safer sleep advice, we can significantly reduce the rates of sudden infant death syndrome.”


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