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Parents advised on sleep safety for babies

11 December 2020

Safeguarding agencies and support services are concerned that the increase in COVID restrictions and changes to household routines over the festive period may result in cases of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infants (SUDI). 

Thankfully incidents of SUDI are rare, but we do see occurences in the island and we want to take this opportunity to remind parents about safe sleeping. 

A range of risks can lead to compromises in ensuring young children and babies sleep safely, including: changes to family sleeping arrangements, increased alcohol consumption at home, and extra family pressures or parents’ own ill health.

As a result, the Island’s Safeguarding Partnership Board and Family Nursing & Home Care are urging islanders with young children and babies to ‘make every sleep a safe sleep.’ Parents are being reminded to follow Public Health advice issued via The Lullaby Trust, an organisation committed to promoting expert advice on safer baby sleep, raising awareness of sudden infant death and providing emotional support for bereaved families. 

Sarah Elliott, Pan Island Independent Chair of the Safeguarding Partnership Board said: “The Christmas period can mean disruptions to household routines, extra stress and increased alcohol consumption. That’s why we are reminding new parents of the importance of following safer sleep advice for their baby for every sleep - day and night, including never sleeping with their baby on a sofa or chair.”

Parents can take simple steps to ensure their baby or young child sleeps safely: 
  • Your baby needs to sleep in a safe sleep space, for every sleep whether in the night or during the day. 
  • You should never sleep with a baby on a sofa or chair.
  • The safest place for your baby to sleep for the first 6 months is in a separate cot or moses basket, in the same room as you. 
  • You should never sleep with a baby if you have consumed alcohol or substances.
  • Don’t sleep in the same bed as your baby if you are extremely tired, or if your baby was born prematurely or was of a low birth weight. 
  • Always put a baby on its back, at the bottom of their cot to sleep - never on its front or side. 
  • Place the baby’s feet towards the foot of the bed with secure covers.
  • Your baby should sleep in a smoke-free environment. 
  • Use a firm and flat mattress for the baby to sleep on – it should be clean and preferably not second-hand. 
  • Don’t have unnecessary items in the cot – toys and excess blankets can increase the risk of accidents. 
  • Seek immediate medical advice if your baby is unwell, (your GP surgery/Hospital have taken safety measures to ensure you will be seen and cared for safe COVID free environment).
  • Staying over or having relatives to stay may lead to sleeping in an out of the ordinary place, follow safe sleep advice at every sleep. 
  • If you are experiencing relationship problems or increased mental health please call for support and seek advice from your GP or Health Visiting Service.
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