March 27, 2019
Partnership aims to save lives by supporting parents and health professionals to reduce the risk of SIDS
This Safer Sleep week on 11-17 March, The Lullaby Trust, Public Health England, Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative and Basis (Baby Sleep Info Source, Durham University) collaborated to create a range of resources for parents and health professionals.
The resources provide information and guidance for parents on reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and support health professionals to have effective conversations about safer sleep. Families will be given the new information and resources by health professionals, supported by all four organisations.
The guide focuses on providing information on the key actions parents can take to reduce the risk of SIDS such as sleeping babies on their back on a clear flat sleep space, avoiding exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy and after birth, and breastfeeding. It also offers information on bed sharing safety.
A guide has also been produced aimed at helping professionals to effectively convey safer sleep information to parents. It emphasises the vital importance of having open, non-judgemental conversations with parents about safer sleep, including bed sharing and provides suggestions for having those sometimes-difficult discussions.
Jenny Ward, CEO of The Lullaby Trust, says: "We are delighted to be working in partnership with Public Health England, Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative and Basis. Although the number of SIDS deaths has declined over the past 25 years, the recent rise in rates has demonstrated the importance of all parents having access to safer sleep information. Around five babies still die of SIDS every week in the UK. This partnership will save lives by ensuring more parents receive and understand information on how to reduce the risk of SIDS."
Wendy Nicholson, National Lead Nurse, Children, Young People and Families, Public Health England, adds: "We know that it may be difficult to have open conversations about the risks of bed sharing when talking to parents about safe sleeping. These important new resources will support health professionals' conversations with parents who might share a bed with their baby, to help more families get the right advice on how to keep their baby safe. We would always encourage parents to talk to their midwife or health visitor for further advice."