Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) – sometimes known as “cot death” – is the sudden, unexpected and unexplained death of an apparently healthy baby.
In the UK, around 200 babies die suddenly and unexpectedly every year. This statistic may sound alarming, but SIDS is rare and the risk of your baby dying from it is low.
Most deaths happen during the first 6 months of a baby’s life. Infants born prematurely or with a low birthweight are at greater risk. SIDS also tends to be slightly more common in baby boys.
SIDS usually occurs when a baby is asleep, although it can occasionally happen while they’re awake.
Safer Sleep Week 13th – 19th March 2023
Safer Sleep Week is The Lullaby Trust’s national awareness campaign targeting anyone looking after a young baby. It aims to raise awareness of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and the simple advice that reduces the risk of it occurring.
We know that greater awareness of safer sleep leads to a decrease in the numbers of babies dying.
Sadly around 3 babies a week still die from SIDS and if all parents were aware of safer sleep advice many lives could be saved. Around 700,000 babies are born every year in the UK and we need to continue to reach out to all new parents with our life-saving message.
Safer Sleep Week Theme
The theme for this year is co-sleeping.
The safest place for a baby to sleep is in a clear, flat, separate sleep space. However, a recent survey of over 3,400 parents showed us that many parents co-sleep with their baby at least some of the time and that many parents have accidentally fallen asleep in bed with their baby. So, it’s vital that every new and expectant parent knows the advice on how to co-sleep more safely, regardless of how they plan to sleep. This will allow parents to prepare a safer space for planned co-sleeping, or if they fall asleep without intending to.
Safer Sleep week Resources
Safer Sleep Flyer
Safer Sleep Quick Tips
Safer Sleep Guidance for Parents
7 Minute Briefing for Professionals
Merseyside CDOP have also produced a Safer Sleep Conversations resource for professionals to use with families:
Reducing the Risk of SIDS – Safe Sleep
Parents can reduce the risk of SIDS by not smoking while pregnant or after the baby is born, and always placing the baby on their back when they sleep. One of the patterns which is known across Merseyside is the significant number of deaths which have occurred when parents have fallen asleep with babies in their bed and accidentally suffocated or badly injured them.
Safer Sleep for Baby is based around six simple steps, designed to be easy to follow and cover the main risk factors. We want all agencies involved with families to speak in a unified voice to reinforce our messages to parents and carers. Research evidence shows that the safest place for a baby to sleep is in their cot, in the parents’ bedroom for the first six months of life. Campaigns to support this have had a positive impact; the number of babies dying, suddenly and unexpectedly, reduced significantly following the introduction of the ‘Back to Sleep’ Campaign in 1991.
Safer Sleep for Babies, Guidance for Parents:
Awareness Raising Posters:
Safer Sleep 7 Minute Briefing (Merseyside CDOP):
6 Steps Graphic:
New parents in Wirral should be given clear safer sleep advice from their healthcare professionals before and after baby comes home. If you would like any further information or advice please speak to your midwife, health visitor, GP or from your local children’s centre.
Safer Sleep 6 steps poster:
Safer Sleep video from the Lullaby Trust:
View further information about safe sleep from the Lullaby Trust: http://www.lullabytrust.org.uk