Safer Sleep Guidance for Parents

safer sleep

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.

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:

six steps

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:

Mini Safe Sleep Poster

Safer Sleep video from the Lullaby Trust:

View further information about safe sleep from the Lullaby Trust:

NHS Advice:


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