The Safer Sleep Campaign has been launched to raise awareness of key risk factors and safer sleep habits that can significantly reduce the risk of sudden unexplained deaths of infants (SUDIs).
The 2017 campaign launched on June 12 for a fortnight across social media, to raise awareness among families with young children as well as the general public about the dangers of poor sleeping conditions and co-sleeping risks for young babies.
While there is a decreasing trend nationally, there was actually a marked rise in the number of SUDIs in recent years in Essex and Thurrock.
No evidence has been identified to suggest a particular cause for the recent increase but there are certain risk factors:
- Co-sleeping with a regular smoker
- Co-sleeping on a sofa
- Co-sleeping after consuming alcohol or drugs
- Co-sleeping if baby was born prematurely or had low birth weight
The campaign also aims to raise awareness of simple safer sleep habits, which if followed can hugely reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
It will promote safer sleep tips and encourage parents and carers to seek further support and advice from their midwife, health visitor or other organisations that offer information on things like help to go smoke free or caring for and settling your baby at sleep times.
Mike Gogarty, Chair of the Southend, Essex and Thurrock Strategic Child Death Overview Panel said: “There is nothing more precious than a newborn child – parents need to be best advised as to how to keep their babies safe.
“Following the advice given in this campaign will help parents to reduce the risk of sudden unexplained deaths of infants (SUDI) through safer sleeping arrangements.”
Phil Picton, Independent Chair said: “The unexpected death of a child is always a tragedy and devastates the child’s family and community.
“International research shows that following these few simple tips can make sleeping safer for children.
“If you’ve got young children in your family, think about how those children sleep and make sure that your family are following these suggestions to make them safer.”
What can parents and carers do to ensure their baby is sleeping safely?
This advice is for all sleep times, not just at night
• Always place your baby on their back to sleep, with their feet to the foot of the cot
• Place your baby in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first six months
• Use a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in good condition
• Breastfeed your baby if you can
• Keep your baby smoke free during pregnancy and after birth
• Sleep on a sofa or in an armchair with your baby
• Sleep in the same bed as your baby if you smoke, drink, take drugs, if your baby was born prematurely or was of low birth weight
• Let your baby get too hot
• Cover your baby’s face or head while sleeping or use loose bedding