Share a room, not a bed – that’s the advice to parents of newborn babies from the organisation responsible for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in Northamptonshire.
Northamptonshire Safeguarding Children Board (NSCB) is re-launching its Safe Sleeping campaign aimed at preventing avoidable deaths of newborn and small babies.
The board says the Safe Sleeping campaign is in line with the Department of Health's recommendation for preventing sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) that the safest place for a baby to sleep in the first six months is in a cot in the same room as the parent or carer.
Keith Makin, Chair of NSCB, said: “This campaign is all about helping parents to understand how they can take steps to reduce the risk of accidental death. We're raising awareness of how a baby's sleeping environment can be a contributing factor in sudden infant death syndrome, as can parents' smoking and the consumption of alcohol, prescribed medication or illegal substances.
"As well putting babies to bed safely, parents should not leave their baby to sleep in a car seat or travel system. It might seem kinder and more convenient to let a sleeping baby stay where they are, but very young infants might fall asleep in these devices in such a way that their airflow is cut off and in such a scenario, very young babies can’t lift their necks to protect themselves."
* The advice to parents includes:
* Place babies gently on their backs up to the age of 6 months
* Ensure that your baby does not overheat due to too many blankets
* Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for you at night (about 18C (65F)
* Do not leave your baby asleep in travel systems or car seats
* Don’t let your baby’s head become covered. Covers should be securely tucked in, and reach no higher than the shoulders
* Don’t sleep with your baby, especially on a sofa or armchair, after drinking alcohol, taking medication or drugs as they can make you sleep more heavily and increase the risk of accidental suffocation
* Smoking increases the risk of SIDS - if you're pregnant or just had a baby and you or your partner smoke, speak to your midwife about NHS support to stop smoking
* Breastfeeding your baby reduces the risk of SIDS - your midwife can give you information about your feeding choices and provide support if you chose to breastfeed.