11-17/03/2019 is #SaferSleepWeek, which is an annual campaign led by the Lullaby Trust; to increase awareness of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) & safer sleep. SIDS is the sudden & unexpected death of a baby where no cause is found & is the largest cause of infant deaths in the early weeks of life.
The Lullaby Trust provides emotional support for families who have experienced the sudden death of a baby or toddler, fund research & provide the Care of the Next Infant Programme, (CONI, regular home visits by Health Visitors to monitor your baby’s growth, basic life support training & the use of a movement monitor, for at least six months) in collaboration with the NHS. This is not available in all areas.
The Office of National Statistics for England & Wales found that the incidence of SIDS in 2014 fell from 217 (0.31 deaths/1,000 live births) to 191 (0.27 deaths/1,000) in 2015. Plus, there was a decrease of 25% from 2013 to 2015.
Back to Sleep
- Your baby should always be placed to sleep on their back in the feet to foot position. The incidence of SIDS is higher if they sleep on their side or front.
- When your baby can turn onto their front, they should be repositioned to sleep on their back. Once they are old enough to turn from their back to front freely, they will settle into their own position.
- The best place for your baby to sleep is in a separate cot or Moses basket in your room for at least six months. Sleep spaces include travel or carry cots.
- Sleep pods, nests & positioners are not recommended by the Lullaby Trust, even though they are sold widely in stores. This is because the risk of SIDS increases if your baby sleeps on a soft surface, as the loss of body heat & maintaining a safe temperature can be more difficult. Also, some products have straps which hold a baby in one position. If these are used your baby must always be supervised i.e. not used at night when parents are asleep.
- Mattresses must be firm, flat & waterproof.
- Ensure your room temperature is 16-20°c, use a thermometer, light bedding or a sleep bag for your baby.
- Breast feed your baby for as long as possible.
- Keep your home & places you visit smoke-free.
- Your baby does not need to wear a hat indoors.
- Keep your baby’s cot or sleep space free from bumpers, toys, pillows, quilts & duvets.
- Never fall asleep on the sofa or armchair with your baby.
- Try not to smoke before or after your baby is born.
We know that some parents choose to co-sleep or bed share with their baby, so the following safety advice should be followed.
- All bedding & other items that might affect breathing or initiate overheating should be kept away from your baby.
- Your baby should always sleep on their back.
- Never co-sleep if you or your partner have smoked, taken medication especially with possible drowsy effects or drunk alcohol.
- Avoid having other children or pets in your bed.
- Ensure your bed is against the wall, so that your baby cannot fall off or slide between the mattress & the wall.
- You should never co-sleep if you or your partner are very tired, your baby was born before 37 weeks gestation or was a low birth weight of under 2.5kg.
These are just a few tips & although the incidence of SIDS is decreasing, safer sleep advice must always be followed. (The Lullaby Trust 2019)
Jackie Morrison, Independent Health Visitor
Join me for my first Facebook Live in association with Kensington Mums, on Friday 15/03/19 from 20:30 for sleep tips. Please email any questions to: Care@independenthealthvisitorsoflondon.com by 14/03/19.
The Lullaby Trust, 2019, Safer Sleep Advice, accessed online 07/03/219, available at: https://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/safer-sleep-advice
The Lullaby Trust, 2019, Safer Sleep Week 2019 Display Pack, accessed online 09/03/2019,
SANDS – Stillbirth & Neonatal Death Charity, www.sands.org.uk
SIDS – Teddy’s Wish, www.teddyswish.org/baby-loss/sids
The Lullaby Trust – www.lullabytrust.org.uk