Have you ever thought about where your baby sleeps?
We know that every year, over 300 babies in the UK die suddenly and unexpectedly in their sleep as a result of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Unfortunately there have been an increased number of deaths in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent as a result of parents co-sleeping with babies in a bed when they have drunk alcohol, are smokers or have taken any drugs. It is especially dangerous to share a sofa or armchair and fall asleep with your baby.
In order to raise awareness of the issues surrounding co-sleeping the Staffordshire and Stoke-On-Trent Safeguarding Children Board's have worked together with a number of agencies to promote a clear message to help parents reduce the risk of SIDS.
To download these documents please click on the following links:
While there is no advice which can guarantee the prevention of SIDS, there are a number of things parents and carers can do to reduce the risk to their baby:
- The safest place for a baby to sleep for the first six months is in a cot, moses basket or crib in their parents' room. Place the baby on their back on a firm mattress, with their feet at the end of the cot.
- Avoid sharing a bed with your baby if you have been drinking, are a smoker or have taken any drugs. If the baby was born premature or is of a low birth weight don't co-sleep.
- Never fall asleep on a sofa or armchair with a baby, no matter what the circumstances.
- Don't let them get too hot, keep the temperature in the room between 16°c -18°c and keep blankets and sheets to a minimum and away from their face.
- Breastfed babies have a lower chance of SIDS. Even a brief period of breast feeding can be protective for your baby.
If you need further advice about the safest place for your baby to sleep please speak to your midwife or health visitor.
Sources of Family Support
The Lullaby Trust
Offers confidential support to family, friends and carers affected by the sudden and unexpected death of a baby or toddler:
Tel: 0808 802 6868, firstname.lastname@example.org
Calls to the Helpline are free from all landlines and most mobile phone networks. The Helpline is open:
Monday - Friday 10am-5pm
Weekends and public holidays 6pm-10pm
(answered by trained befrienders, all with personal experience of bereavement)
The Helpline does not offer a formal counselling service but rather the opportunity to talk freely, for as long as required, with a sympathetic and understanding listener.
They can also offer support through their team of befrienders. Befrienders are themselves bereaved parents, grandparents and other relatives, who offer personal support which can be arranged via the Helpline.
Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC) - For those whose child was over the age of one year.
Child Death Helpline - For anyone affected by the death of a child of any age from any cause. Telephone: 0800 282 986
SANDS - Support after neonatal death or stillbirth. Telephone: 020 7436 5881
Winston's Wish Helpline - Help and advice in supporting a bereaved child. Telephone: 08452 03 04 05
BLISS - Support, including after bereavement, for the family of a premature baby. Telephone: 0500 618 140
Saying Goodbye - National remembrance services. Telephone: 08707 449 701
CRUSE Bereavement Care - Helpline available (09:30-17:30 (19:00 Mon and Wed). Number of branches available. Telephone: 0121 687 801