Safer Sleep Week

10th March 2020

Health chiefs in Stockport are backing a national week-long campaign aimed at reducing the number of babies who die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Currently it claims the lives of over 240 infants every year in the UK – that’s around five deaths a week. A smaller but still significant number of babies over 12 months old also fall victim to Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC).

But making parents aware of the various risk factors that can contribute to the chances of an infant or child dying suddenly has a huge impact.

Since 1991 there have been several national campaigns to raise awareness of the causes of SIDS and that has led to an 82% reduction in the number of deaths. The campaign uses strong scientific evidence.

This year the Safer Sleep Week, run by the Lullaby Trust – a charity created to raise awareness of SIDS, provides expert advice on safer sleep for babies and offer emotional support for bereaved families – starts the week of 9th March.

This year there are several key messages for parents:

  • Never sleep on a sofa or armchair with your baby as this hugely increases the risk of SIDS.
  • Co-sleeping with your baby can be very dangerous, especially if you are extremely tired so make sure you know how to do this safely first.
  • The safest place for your baby to sleep is a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first 6 months with the cot clear of bumpers, toys and loose bedding
  • 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
  • Keep baby’s room at a comfortable temperature – somewhere between 16c and 20c.

Avoiding smoking during pregnancy and after birth, and keeping your baby out of smoky areas, is also very important in reducing risk.

NHS Stockport CCG’s Designated Nurse for Safeguarding Children, Julie Parker said: “Not all infant deaths are preventable but it’s vital that we do all we can to reduce the risk of those that are.

“By following this helpful advice you’ll be doing everything possible to reduce the risk of SIDS in your child. You can talk to your midwife, health visitor or GP if you have any concerns.”

The Lullaby Trust’s website – www.lullabytrust.org.uk – has a wealth of information on how to ensure that your infant is sleeping as safely as possible.