Public health experts at Nottingham City Council are warning parents to remember the importance of safe sleeping for babies ahead of the Christmas season.

Babies 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.

Since 1st April 2009, 46 babies in Nottinghamshire and Nottingham City have died suddenly and unexpectedly in unsafe sleep environments. This is an average of six babies a year and many of these tragic events could be prevented if all parents followed evidence-based, safer sleep advice.

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 City Council advises parents to follow The Lullaby Trust’s Safer Sleep tips 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 Mellen, 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