At least four babies die every week in their sleep in the UK but with enough information given to parents most, if not all, of these deaths could be avoided, according to The Lullaby Trust.
As part of local efforts to make #SaferSleepWeek, Solent NHS Trust is working with The Lullaby Trust to support parents and carers possible on how to significantly reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – the sudden and unexplained death of a baby.
Jane Taylor, a health visitor at Solent NHS Trust, said, “Babies are most vulnerable to SIDS particularly in the first six months from birth and so the biggest advice to parents is please put your baby to sleep in a separate cot or moses basket in the same room as you. Please don’t sleep in the same bed as your baby especially if you smoke, drink, take drugs, or if you are extremely tired or if your baby was born prematurely or was of low birth weight."
According to Jane, parents are always encouraged to stay from cigarette smoke too.
“Parents are encouraged to abstain from smoking anywhere near their baby. This includes abstaining from smoking or being exposed to other people smoking, during pregnancy as well as post-delivery. As much as possible parents are encouraged to breast feed their baby. A really important message is to put babies to sleep on their backs on a firm flat waterproof mattress in their cot or moses basket with their feet to the foot of the cot or mosses basket. Lastly, the cot or moses basket should be in the same room as their parents,” added Jane.
Another important message, Jane said, ‘‘is to not to let their babies get too hot, by using loose bedding. Babies’ faces or heads should never be covered while they sleep’’. Parents are also being advised against sleeping on a sofa or armchair with their baby, day or night time
Local authorities are also backing #SaferSleepWeek.
Dr Jason Horsley, Director of Public Health at Portsmouth City Council and Southampton City Council, said; "Losing a child is devastating and so this campaign helping to raise awareness of safer sleeping advice is really important. There's often a lot going on following the birth of a new baby but by following the few simple sleep recommendations from Health Visitors, parents can significantly reduce the chance of losing their child to SIDS.
"In addition, we recognise that the first few weeks of being sleep deprived parents can be difficult and it's important that you look after yourself. If you're finding it tough you should seek help by speaking with your Health Visitor or GP. It's nothing to be ashamed of."
Last year, the Office for National Statistics published a report stating that the rates of SIDS did reach a new record now, but the Lullaby Trust warns vehemently against complacency.
Francine Bates, Chief Executive of The Lullaby Trust said, “Although SIDS rates have decreased significantly over the past decade, 191 babies still died in 2015 and the risk has not gone away. We need to ensure that parents continue to recognise the vital importance of following safer sleep advice. Only by making all families aware of the steps they can take to help protect their babies, can we save more lives and drive the number down.”/ Ends
Notes to editors