Safer Sleep Week is The Lullaby Trust’s national awareness campaign targeting anyone looking after a young baby.
It runs from March 13th-19th, 2023, and the focus this year is co-sleeping.
The week aims to raise awareness of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and the safer sleep advice that reduces the risk of it occurring.
Greater awareness of safer sleep leads to a decrease in the numbers of babies dying. Sadly, in Nottinghamshire (city and county) 5-6 babies a year die in an unsafe sleep environment.
Advice on co-sleeping (Lullaby Trust)
To reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) the safest place for a baby to sleep is in their own clear, flat, separate sleep space, such as a cot or Moses basket. However, we know that many parents find themselves co-sleeping whether they mean to or not. It’s therefore essential that parents and carers receive evidence-based and up to date advice on how to co-sleep more safely and when to avoid it altogether.
Open, non-judgemental conversations are crucial to reducing hazardous co-sleeping. Anyone involved with parents and families can have these conversations and help to reinforce messages.
When not to co-sleep
Co-sleeping with your baby is very dangerous if:
- you or anyone in the bed has recently drunk any alcohol.
- you or anyone in the bed smokes.
- you or anyone in the bed has taken any drugs or medication that make you feel sleepy.
- your baby was born prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) or weighed under 2.5kg or 5½ lbs when they were born.
In these scenarios, it is always best to put your baby in their own safe sleep space, such as a cot or Moses basket. Keeping the cot or Moses basket next to your bed might make this easier. 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. They are also at risk of accidental death as they can easily slip into a position where they are trapped and can’t breathe.
Co-sleeping more safely
- Keep pillows and adult bedding away from your baby or any other items that could cover their head or cause them to overheat. A high proportion of babies who die as a result of SIDS are found with their head covered by loose bedding.
- Follow all The Lullaby Trust’s other safer sleep advice to reduce the risk of SIDS such as sleeping your baby on their back.
- To reduce the risk of accidents, do not bring other children or pets into bed with you.
- Try to make sure or check that the baby cannot be trapped, wedged or fall out of bed or get trapped between the mattress and the wall.
- Never leave your baby unattended in an adult bed.
If you are bedsharing with your baby you should consider any risks before every sleep. It is easy for your situation to change if you are unwell or have drunk any alcohol, which means your baby will be safest in a separate sleep space such as a cot or Moses basket on that occasion.
Resources for parents and carers
The Lullaby Trust has developed a ‘Safer Sleep’ guide for parents and carers which you can find under ‘Safer Sleep’ publications along with lots of useful information and advice. They have also produced a series of videos ‘Safer Sleep’ for babies presentations and their ‘easy read card’ is available in 25 different languages:
Parents, carers living in Nottinghamshire and health professionals can obtain advice and support from the Nottinghamshire Healthy Family Teams by calling the advice line on 0300 123 5436. Find out more on our ‘Healthy Family Teams’ page.
Parents and carers are being encouraged to complete the ‘Your Baby’s Sleep’ survey which runs from now until April 30th, 2023. The survey can also be accessed by scanning the QR code below;
You can also view the ‘Safer Sleep’ weekly bulletin.