Safe Sleeping

In Cumbria, the LSCB Child Death Overview Panel analyses the historical deaths to establish the demographic issues and identifies any key themes. 

One of these key themes is the risk factors for Sudden Unexpected death in Infancy (SUDI).  Despite public health campaigns and involvement of universal services in parental education, the following risk factors are still identified in cases categorised as SUDI.

1. Co-sleeping,

2. Parental smoking,

3. Prop feeding.  

It important that all practitioners working with families in Cumbria promote ‘safe sleeping’.   A good leaflet is available on the Lullaby Trust website http://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/safer-sleep?gclid=CKePkrrN48wCFcG6Gwodcg4F3Athis external link will open in a new window

Reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

It’s not known why some babies die suddenly and for no apparent reason from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or cot death.  Advice for parents and cares from NHS Choices states the following.    “Experts do know placing a baby to sleep on their back reduces the risk, and exposing a baby to cigarette smoke or allowing them to overheat increases the risk.  It’s also known there is an association between co-sleeping (sleeping with your baby on a bed, sofa or chair) and SIDS.

SIDS is rare, so don’t let worrying about it stop you enjoying your baby’s first few months.  Follow the advice below to reduce the risks as much as possible.”

More detailed information is available from http://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/factsheetsthis external link will open in a new window

For every sleep episode a baby should be on a FIRM, FLAT AND WATERPROOF place to sleep.

How to reduce the risk of SIDS

·         Place your baby on their back to sleep, in a cot in the same room as you for the first six months.  Do not leave your baby to sleep unsupervised in car seats or bouncers                                     

·         Don’t smoke during pregnancy or breastfeeding and don’t let anyone smoke in the same room as your baby 

·         Don’t share a bed with your baby if you’ve been drinking alcohol, if you take drugs or you’re e a smoker 

·         Never sleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair

·         Don’t let your baby get too hot or cold 

·         Keep your baby’s head uncovered.  Their blanket should be tucked in no higher than their shoulders 

·         Place your baby in the “feet to foot” position (with their feet at the end of the cot or Moses basket)

Feeding, dummies and SIDS

Breastfeeding your baby reduces the risk of SIDS.

Its possible using a dummy at the start of a sleep also reduces the risk of SIDS.  However, the evidence is not strong and not all experts agree that dummies should be promoted.

If you do use a dummy, don’t start until breastfeeding is well established.  This is usually when they’re around one month old.  Stop giving them the dummy when they’re between 6 and 12 months old.         

If your baby is unwell, seek medical help promptly

Babies often have minor illnesses, which you don’t need to worry about.  Give your baby plenty of fluids to drink and don’t let them get too hot.  If your baby sleeps a lot, wake them up for regularly for a drink.

It can be difficult to judge whether an illness is more serious and needs urgent medical attention.  See spotting the signs of serious illness on the NHS Choices website for guidance on when to get help.

 

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