Safer Sleep Week 2022

This week is Safer Sleep Week 2022! Although sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is now very rare, over 200 babies still die every year. Yet we now have accurate information about how and where babies die and research that tells us how to prevent them dying. This year we are saying #letskeepitclear and reminding everyone of our simple and easy to follow safer sleep advice. All a baby needs is a firm, flat sleep space that is clear of toys, bulky bedding and accessories and a simple blanket or baby sleep bag.

What is SIDS?

SIDS is when a baby dies suddenly and unexpectedly and no cause of death is found. SIDS currently claims the lives of 230 babies every year in the UK. That’s around 4 babies each week. We know that greater awareness of safer sleep leads to a decrease in the numbers of babies dying.

Safer sleep for baby, sounder sleep for you

Following the ABCs for every sleep day and night will help you to protect your babies from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) giving you the peace of mind to enjoy this special time.

Always sleep your baby…

…on their back

…in a clear cot or sleep space (free of bumpers, toys, pillows and loose bedding).

Things you can do

  • 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 cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first 6 months
  • Breastfeed your baby
  • 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 medication that make you drowsy, 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
  • Don’t sleep your baby on a pod or nest or give them a pillow. Babies should not have anything soft around their heads while sleeping

Placing your baby on their back to sleep

The big drop in the number of SIDS deaths has been largely attributed to the success of the message to sleep babies on their back: never their front or their side.

  • Back to sleep, for every sleep – Back sleeping needs to be consistent from day one. The odd night that a baby is slept differently, for whatever reason, is the one where the risk of SIDS peaks. Premature babies may have been slept differently whilst on a neonatal unit for health reasons, but when they go home they should be slept on their backs unless there is different medical advice.
  • Side sleeping is not safe – A baby sleeping on their side is not in a stable position, and should never be propped to stay in this position.
  • Babies with reflux do not need to be on their front – You should seek medical advice if you feel the position your baby is sleeping in is having a detrimental effect on their health. This decision should not be made by you alone.
  • Longer, deeper sleep is not safer sleep – Babies sleeping on their front sometimes seem to sleep longer and deeper. Their risk of SIDS is also much higher, probably for these same reasons.

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