Public health experts are warning parents to remember the importance of safe sleeping for babies ahead of the Christmas season.
Officials at Nottinghamshire County and Nottingham City councils have teamed up with the Lullaby Trust to remind families that risks increase significantly at this time of the year as routines change.
Babies, both newborns and older infants, need lots of sleep during their first few months and it’s important to ensure that they’re sleeping safely at all times – either overnight or daytime naps.
Across the country, 290 babies die suddenly and unexpectedly every year and many of these tragic events could be prevented if all parents followed evidence-based, safer sleep advice. In Nottingham City and across the county since 2009, 35 babies have died where unsafe sleeping has been a factor.
With the Christmas season approaching, babies and their families will be staying away from home with friends and family for the holidays, and regular sleeping arrangements may change. The Lullaby Trust’s Safer Sleep tips should be followed whether baby is sleeping at home or away, at baby’s normal bedtime and during daytime naps.
To help make sure that babies have a Safer Sleep, parents are reminded of the following information:
• Always place your baby on their back to sleep
• Keep your baby smoke-free during pregnancy and after birth
• Place your baby to sleep in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first six months
• Make sure there are no pillows, heavy duvets or toys in the cot or Moses basket
• Breastfeed your baby if you can
Things you should do:
• Use a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in good condition
Things to avoid:
• Never sleep on a sofa or in an armchair with your baby
• Don’t sleep in the same bed as your baby if you smoke, drink or take drugs or are extremely tired, or if your baby was born prematurely or was of low birth-weight
• Avoid letting your baby get too hot
• Don’t cover your baby’s face or head while sleeping or use loose bedding
Councillor Joyce Bosnjak, chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “The birth of a baby is such a special and happy time for families, and parents want to make sure that the newest member of the family is kept safe and comfortable. A parent’s greatest priority is keeping their child safe right from the earliest moments.
“So, we want to remind people during this Christmas season, when families are often away from home staying with relatives, that the Lullaby Trust’s Safer Sleep tips should be followed.”
Councillor David Mellen, Portfolio Holder for Portfolio Holder for Early Intervention and Early Years, said: “We want everyone to have a fun and safe Christmas this year. It’s traditionally the season when people spend time with their families, often staying overnight at a relative’s house.
“This means a change in routine for babies and it’s really important that parents follow the advice from the Lullaby Trust and think about where their child is going to spend the night. Babies have very specific requirements in terms of where, when and how they sleep, and we urge families to make suitable arrangements.
“At a time when many little ones are likely to receive cuddly toys as gifts, it’s so important to remember that these are kept out of cots. Similarly, pillows and duvets must be removed because older children call roll around and get tangled. Parents must also never allow babies to sleep for long periods in car seats or pushchairs as they can have breathing difficulties.”
For more information about Safer Sleep for babies, go to http://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/safer-sleep