Safe Sleeping – the dangers of sleeping with your baby

Keeping baby safe during sleep

The Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Board (HSCB) has launched a safe sleeping campaign to highlight the dangers of sleeping with your baby and has asked all schools to communicate this information to their parents/carers.

300 babies in the UK die suddenly and unexpectedly in their sleep every year as a result of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS); commonly known as cot death. In Hertfordshire, nearly a third of these types of deaths could have been avoided.

The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a cot, moses basket or crib in your room. Although we don’t always know what causes many sad, unexpected deaths, it has been proven that if the parent is a smoker, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or just very tired, falling asleep with their baby significantly increases the risk of sudden infant death.

Following good advice does not guarantee the prevention of sudden infant death, but there are a number of things parents and carers can do to reduce the risks to their baby:
• The safest place for a baby to sleep for the first six months is on its back in a cot, moses basket or crib in their parents’ room
• It is dangerous for a baby to sleep in a normal bed or on a sofa or armchair
• Babies should be placed on their back on a firm mattress, with their feet at the bottom end of the cot
• They should not be allowed to get too hot – an ideal room temperature is between 16-20°c
• Babies should be protected from second hand smoke – mothers should not smoke during pregnancy and people should not smoke in the house.

Dr Hilary Angwin, Public Health Consultant for children, NHS Hertfordshire. said: “Losing a child this way is a terrible tragedy. We should all do everything we can to reduce the risk of this happening. As the campaign highlights, drinking alcohol, smoking or any drug use adds unnecessary risks. I hope people take note of these messages and that this campaign saves lives not only in Hertfordshire, but across the country.”

To learn more about reducing the risks, visit the FSID website www.fsid.org.uk or speak to a midwife or health visitor.