Parents: get the best safe sleeping advice for your baby

Content originally from Mid Essex Clinical Commissioning Group

A new campaign has launched across mid and south Essex aimed at providing parents and parents-to-be with the latest advice on providing a safe sleeping environment for their baby.

Every year more than 200 babies die suddenly and unexpectantly across the UK while sleeping. These deaths are a result of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

The exact causes of SIDS are not fully understood but there are actions that parents can take to reduce the risk to their baby. These focus on the best position for a baby and creating a safe sleeping environment and include:

  • Laying a baby on their back for sleep;
  • Sharing a room with a baby for the first six months;
  • Never sleeping with a baby on an armchair or sofa;
  • Sticking with cots or Moses Baskets for sleeping. Other sleeping products like sleeping pods, nests, and baby hammocks do not follow safer sleeping guidelines and are not recommended;
  • Sharing a bed with a baby (also known as co-sleeping) is not recommended. Parents should never share a bed with a baby when their baby was born premature or at a low weight (below 2.5kg / 5½ lbs); and they should never share a bed with a baby if they smoke, have been drinking alcohol or have taken drugs, including prescription medicines that cause drowsiness;
  • Keeping a cot clear of anything but bedding: this includes but is not limited to removing soft toys, pillows, and cot bumpers;
  • Keeping a baby at a comfortable temperature, around 16-20°C and regularly checking their temperature by feeling the back of their neck or chest.

Dr Sooraj Natarajan, Essex GP and clinical lead for children and young people’s health in mid and south Essex, said:

“Becoming a parent is one of the most challenging things that anyone can do. We know parents want the best for their baby, but it can sometimes be confusing knowing what advice to follow and what sources of information to trust. Our new campaign aims to share the very latest advice with parents that is based on clinical knowledge and expertise.

“Many parents worry about the risks of SIDS, but there is a lot they can do to create a safer sleeping environment for their baby. If you have any questions or concerns on how to prepare a baby for sleep properly, then please do talk to a health professional such as your midwife or health visitor.”

Find out more on safe sleeping for babies