Infant Safer Sleep Week 11 to 17 March 2019

Fri, 08 Mar 2019

Safer Sleep Week is an annual campaign run by the Lullaby Trust to raise awareness of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and the safer sleep advice that reduces the risk of it occurring. Sadly, around five babies a week in the UK die from SIDS.

This year, the focus of Safer Sleep Week is on co-sleeping. It is estimated that by the age of three months half of all babies born in England and Wales will have slept in an adult bed with one or both parents, whether intended or not.

Furthermore, sleeping with a baby on a sofa or armchair is highly risky and should be avoided. This campaign will focus on helping parents to make informed choices about co-sleeping and to avoid hazardous co-sleeping.

Health care staff across Hull and the East Riding will be promoting safer sleep messages to parents and the public.

In the East Riding, local children’s centres and the integrated specialist public health nursing team are collaborating to run a travelling roadshow of events for Safer Sleep Week. The roadshow will be travelling around the East Riding with the yellow public health vehicle and will be at the following venues:-

  • Monday 11 March – Tesco, Bridlington (10am to 4pm)
  • Tuesday 12 March – Tesco, Driffield (10am to 4pm)
  • Wednesday 13 March – Goole Precinct (10am to 4pm)
  • Friday 15 March – Flemingate, Beverley, (10am to 2pm)

There will also be activities at Withernsea Children’s Centre. The team aim to provide opportunities to talk about how to keep babies safe, information on how to assess the risks associated with co-sleeping, the importance of a smoke-free home, hints and tips as well as the opportunity to sign up for free support with smoking cessation.

In Hull midwives and health visitors and children’s centre staff will be at St Stephens on Monday 11 March to provide information and answer questions. The Boulevard Centre Teenage Pregnancy Unit are also supporting the event. The young mums are keen to get the safer sleep message across, as statistics show that babies of young mothers are at high risk of SIDs.

A bereavement study day for midwives and other health professionals is also being held during Safer Sleep Week to increase staff knowledge and improve support to bereaved parents.

Isabel Carrick, public health lead, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, and chair of the infant safer sleep steering group, said: “Safer Sleep Week is a great opportunity to ensure that infant safer sleep messages are getting out to parents, grandparents, family and friends. Being informed of the key messages helps everyone to reduce the risks when deciding where their baby will sleep.

Debbie Jackson, infant feeding co-ordinator with the Hull 0-19 service, said: “The service encourages parents to have an open and honest discussion around their sleep practices so that individual plans can be put in place. Midwives and health visitors are offering parents the opportunity to have the baby’s sleeping environment assessed during pregnancy and following the birth of the baby to highlight any potential risks.”

For more information about safer sleeping please visit: https://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/our-safer-sleep-week-campaign/


Notes to editors:-

Information about key messages on safer sleep

Current advice for new parents is:

  • The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a crib or a cot in a room with you for the first six months of life.
  • The safest sleep position for babies is on their backs. The Back to Sleep campaign in the 1990s is one of the main reasons why sudden infant death dropped by more than half between 1989 and 1992. Once babies can roll from front to back and back again by themselves they can be left to find their own position to sleep.
  • Babies should be placed on a flat firm mattress in the ‘feet to foot’ position in a cot kept clear of bumpers, toys and loose bedding
  • Breast feeding and keeping your baby smoke free have been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS. Ask your Midwife or Health Visitor for help with breastfeeding and stopping smoking

The Lullaby Trust identify key risk factors to parents and babies sharing a bed or other sleep surface:

If the parent (or partner or carer)

  • Is a smoker, even if they never smoke in bed or at home
  • Has been drinking alcohol
  • Has taken medication or drugs that make them drowsy
  • Feels very tired

Or if the baby:

  • is low birth weight (less than 2.5kgs or 51/2 lb)
  • is premature (born before 37 weeks)

By the age of 3 months half of all babies born in England and Wales will have slept in an adult bed with one or both parents, whether intended or not.

Parents and carers should be advised never to sleep with a baby on a sofa or in an armchair, and they should be reminded that accidents can happen: parents might roll over in their sleep and suffocate their baby, or the baby could get caught between the wall and the bed, or could roll out of the bed and be injured.

: The Serious Crime Act 2015 (child cruelty offence (Section 66)) extends provisions in the Children Act 1933 that deem the suffocation of a child under three years when in bed with a drunken person to constitute child neglect to now include:

  • those under the influence of prohibited drugs;
  • where the person comes under the influence of the substance in question at any time before the suffocation occurs; and
  • irrespective of where the adult and child were sleeping (for example, a sofa or chair)


It is important to emphasise to parents the need to re-assess infant sleep practices whenever anything changes, for example:

  • someone new (such as grandparent, babysitter) putting baby to bed;
  • sleeping in a different environment/away from home,
  • changing from breastfeeding to formula-feeding especially when sharing a sleep surface with their baby