08 May 2013
Jersey’s Medical Officer of Health is reminding parents of the importance of ensuring their baby is put to sleep safely, following an inquest last week which found sleeping arrangements may have contributed to a baby’s death.
The inquest heard that in January this year, the two month old had fallen asleep lying face down on its mother’s chest and was subsequently found dead. As in many other cases of sudden infant death, the precise cause of death could not be established.
Dr Susan Turnbull said “It is tragic when any baby dies, and surely the worst-ever experience for any parent. Despite all precautions, sudden unexplained infant deaths (also known as cot deaths) can, and do still occur. Thankfully such tragedies became rare after the landmark ‘Back to Sleep’ campaign of the early 1990s when the rate of sudden infant deaths in the UK plummeted by 70%.
"The aftermath of a local tragedy is an opportune time to remind all Jersey parents about safer sleeping arrangements for babies. The Lullaby Trust advice is a good summary, but we have also conducted a rapid review of the literature and produced more comprehensive advice for parents, linked to the evidence.”
The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID), now renamed the Lullaby Trust, gives the following advice to parents:
- always place your infant on his or her back whenever they may go to sleep
- in the first six months, infants should sleep in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as a parent
- the mattress should be firm, flat, waterproof and in good condition
- never use loose bedding
- never cover a baby's face or head while sleeping
- avoid letting a baby get too hot
Advice on ‘co-sleeping’ (next to a baby)
- never co-sleep with a baby who was born prematurely or of low birth weight
- never co sleep on a sofa or armchair
- never co-sleep if you smoke, have taken alcohol, are on medications/drugs
- never co-sleep if you are extremely tired