Safer Sleep Week

14th – 20th March 2022

Safe sleeping is one of the priorities for new parents when expecting a baby and thinking ahead to when they arrive. It affects lots of decisions from what purchases to make to how and where your baby will sleep. It can also be the source of anxiety in parents, but by following the guidance the risk of SIDS is greatly reduced, and nowadays we know so much more about SIDS than ever before. The Lullaby Trust’s Safe Sleep Week campaign is still as important as ever though too, because each new wave of parents needs to be educated on the do’s and don’t of safer infant sleep, so you can rest easier at night. Here’s 8 Safe Sleep guidelines that can help keep your baby safe, plus some extra practical tips.

Always place your baby on their back to sleep

The ‘back to sleep’ campaign helped influence an 81% drop in SIDS in th UK since launched in 1991 and remains the most important guideline to follow when it comes to infant sleep. There are very few scenarios when this should be ignored, and only every under the instruction of a trained health professional – typically when the risk of other health issues (e.g. reflux) outweighs the SIDS risk. 

Keep your baby smoke free both during and after pregnancy

There is another huge associated risk with SIDS, smoking. Smoking whilst pregnant and second-hand smoke around a baby account for as much as 60% of Sudden Infant Deaths. The Lullaby Trust suggest avoiding smoking during pregnancy altogether, keeping your baby away from smoky areas, especially the home, and avoid sharing a bed with your baby if you smoke. 

Keep your baby close for at least 6 months

Babies should ideally have their own sleep area (unless following safe co-sleeping guidelines) but in the same room as you until the age of 6 months. The 6 months guideline is a minimum though, so ideally until then but you can keep them close for longer until you feel comfortable making the move. 

Breastfeed if you can

This is a tricky one because I am firmly in the ‘fed is best’ camp, and it’s definitely not to say that formula fed babies are at high risk. But there’s no denying that the research shows that the SIDS risk is cut in half if a baby is breastfed for at least 2 months.

Use a firm, flat, waterproof mattress

Even newborn babies can roll over and risk suffocation on a spongy mattress. But even when placed on their back, and they remain there all night, a soft mattress can cause overheating. 

Place your baby ‘feet to foot’

The ‘feet to foot’ slogan is another big campaign from the Lullaby Trust. The reason behind putting your baby’s feet at one end of the cot, rather than in the middle or their head at one is to stop them wriggling under the covers. Infants are really great at these small movements and over the course of an hour or so, they can move from a safe position to being at risk of suffocation under a blanket. 

An empty cot is a safe cot

As lovely as it looks, a cot full of bumpers, soft toys and other items can be really dangerous for babies under a year. Loose bedding such blankets and sheets should be firmly tucked in, and bulky bedding including duvets and pillows shouldn’t be used until at least a year old. 

Keep their head uncovered during sleep

Babies have poor thermoregulation, and can easily overheat. One of the ways they need to release heat is through their head, and so keeping this covered during sleep increases the risk of overheating and therefore SIDS.  

Blogged by Emma Osborne, Paediatric Sleep Specialist, founder of HushaBoo & Mum to one little boy!

Safe Sleep Week

by Mar 11, 2022Uncategorized0 comments