Keeping your baby safe
Hampshire’s Safeguarding Children’s Board, responsible for co-ordinating and ensuring the effectiveness of local work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in the county, is backing a safer babies campaign. The campaign promotes good care practices in a bid to reduce the risk of sudden infant death. Tina Scarborough, Named Midwife for Safeguarding Children for Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, provides some tips below on how you can reduce the risks for your baby.
What is SIDS?
SIDS stands for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, often called ‘Cot Death’ although many of the deaths do not occur in a cot. Whilst relatively rare, it is still the biggest cause of death for babies between one month and one year of age in the UK.
Can it be prevented?
SIDS cannot entirely be prevented and the cause is not yet fully understood. It is possible to significantly reduce the risk of your baby suffering SIDS by following this simple ‘Reduce the Risk’ advice:
How can I ‘reduce the risk’ of my baby being the victim of SIDS?
It is important to remember that ‘Every Sleep Counts’ so you should follow this advice every time your baby is sleeping.
- Your baby should sleep close to your bed, but in their own bed in the same room as you, for at least the first six months.
- It is not recommended to sleep with your baby at any time but particularly if you or your partner have been drinking any amount of alcohol, using drugs, smoke, are excessively tired or unwell, obese, or taking medication such as pain relief or sleeping tablets that may affect your level of consciousness.
- It is NEVER safe to sleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair.
- Breastfeeding has been found to help to reduce the risk.
- Your baby should be put on their back to sleep, with their feet at the foot of the cot to prevent them sliding under the covers.
- Blankets and sheets, or a special baby sleep bag, should be used and bedding should not cover your baby’s head.
- Your baby should always sleep on a firm flat surface.
- You should avoid over heating your baby by over dressing them or using hats indoors.
- Parents who smoke are strongly recommended to avoid exposing their baby to any cigarette smoke.
- If your baby appears unwell then seek advice from your doctor.
Should my baby use a dummy?
Settling a baby with a dummy may ‘reduce the risk’ but only once breastfeeding has been established and if the dummy is used for every sleep and has been sterilised correctly. Remember breastfeeding helps to reduce SIDS as well as a number of other medical problems.
Where can I go for more information?
You can get further information from your midwife, health visitor, doctor or the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (Fsids).