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Reaching out to dads in support of Lullaby Trust’s Safer Sleep Week

Illustration of baby asleep in a cot

Today marks the start of National Safer Sleep Week (15-21 March), a campaign launched by The Lullaby Trust that aims to reach as many families as possible with life-saving safer sleep advice.

We are proud to support Safer Sleep Week as part of our Baby Safe campaign in partnership with the NHS. This initiative provides support and advice to help new and expectant parents keep their babies safe.

Newly released figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) have shown that during 2018 the rates of sudden infant death syndrome increased, after rates had been ‘levelling off’ since 2014. The report shows that in 2018 sudden infant death syndrome rates grew by 7% compared to the previous year.

Sudden infant death syndrome is the sudden and unexpected death of a baby where no cause is found. While there is no known cause, parents and carers can take steps to reduce the risk. Safer Sleep Week is The Lullaby Trust’s national awareness campaign targeting anyone looking after a young baby. It aims to raise awareness of sudden infant death syndrome and promote safer sleep advice that can save lives. This year’s campaign is focused on reaching out to dads to help them understand safer sleep guidance and how to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

Guidance from The Lullaby Trust advises all parents and carers to stick to its safer sleep guidelines for every sleep, day or night:

  • Place your baby in a cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first 6 months
  • Always place your baby on their back to sleep
  • Never sleep on a sofa or in an armchair with your baby – this can increase the chance of SIDS by 50 times
  • Use a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in good condition
  • Don’t sleep your baby on a pod or nest or give them a pillow
  • Don’t cover your baby’s face or head while sleeping or use loose bedding
  • Keep your baby smoke free during pregnancy and after birth
  • Avoid letting your baby get too hot (a room temperature of 16-20°C is comfortable for babies)

Last year, The Lullaby Trust expressed concern over the increase in rates of sudden infant death syndrome and highlighted the potential for the COVID-19 pandemic to cause a further rise in the number of sudden infant deaths. A parliamentary report has also highlighted the impact of COVID-19 on pregnancy and baby loss, stating that lockdown has worsened some of the risk factors.

Cabinet Member for Children, Young People & Families for Sheffield City Council, and one of Sheffield’s Baby Safe Champions, Councillor Jackie Drayton said:

“15th – 21st March is National Safer Sleep Week and I’m so pleased to support their Safer Sleep campaign, to share the important messages and to encourage all new parents/carers to follow the safer sleep guidance.

“I know that being a new parent can be an amazing but sometimes scary experience and to go through that life-changing event during this pandemic may have been extra challenging.

“But please remember if you ever feel that you need reassurance or help as a parent/carer, you’re not on your own - reach out to your health visitor or local Family Centre workers. They are brilliant and they are there for you - with information, advice and most importantly support.  Please take care and sleep safe.”

Senior Parenting Practitioner, Sheffield City Council, and Baby Safe Champion, Stephen Green, said:

“There is so much to learn as a new parent that it can be overwhelming. By following safer sleep guidance for every sleep, parents can be reassured they are doing everything they can to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. It’s really important that dads have access to all of this advice too, as consistency is so important for babies. In our parenting programmes, available through Sheffield Parenting Hub, we try to be as inclusive as possible to make sure that dads and male carers are getting all the help and support they need.”

In Sheffield, new or expectant parents can contact their local Family Centre for further support and advice on safer sleeping. Parents can also find advice on The Lullaby Trust website, which includes vital information such as the best position for babies to sleep in and other guidance that can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

For more information about Safer Sleep Week visit www.lullabytrust.org.uk. For more information about Baby Safe visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/babysafe