Children

Swaddling & slings

Safer Sleep WeekSwaddling

Some believe swaddling young babies can help them settle to sleep. Whilst we do not advise for or against swaddling, we do urge parents to follow the advice below.  If you decide to adopt swaddling, this should be done for each day and night time sleep as part of a regular routine:

  • use thin materials
  • do not swaddle above the shoulders
  • never put a swaddled baby to sleep on their front
  • do not swaddle too tight
  • check the baby’s temperature to ensure they do not get too hot

Slings

Slings and baby-carriers are useful for holding a baby hands-free, however they are not always used safely. Although there is no reliable evidence that slings are directly associated with SIDS, there have been a number of deaths worldwide where infants have suffered a fatal accident from the use of a sling. These accidents are particularly due to suffocation, and particularly in young infants.

The risk appears to be greatest when a baby’s airway is obstructed either by their chin resting on their chest or their mouth and nose being covered by a parent’s skin or clothing.

The safest baby carrier to use will keep the infant firmly in an upright position where a parent can always see their baby’s face, and ensure their airways are free. Complete guidance is available by visiting The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

Download

Lullaby Trust factsheet on mattresses, bedding and cots
www.lullabytrust.org.uk/file/—–internal-documents/Fact-Sheet-Mattresses-bedding-and-cots.pdf

#safersleepweek

The Lullaby Trust, ‘Safer Sleep for babies: a Guide for Parents’,
www.lullabytrust.org.uk/swaddling-slings

 

Using a dummy

Safer Sleep WeekSome research suggests that it is possible that using a dummy when putting a baby down to sleep could reduce the risk of sudden infant death.

  • If you choose to use a dummy, wait until breastfeeding is well established (at up to about 4 weeks old).
  • Stop giving a dummy to your baby to go to sleep between 6 and 12 months.
  • Don’t force your baby to take a dummy or put it back in if your baby spits it out. Don’t use a neck cord.
  • Don’t put anything sweet on the dummy, and don’t offer during awake time.
  • Using an orthodontic dummy is best as it adapts to your baby’s mouth shape.
  • If you choose to use a dummy make sure it is part of your baby’s regular sleep routine.

Download

Lullaby Trust factsheet on the use of dummies
www.lullabytrust.org.uk/file/Fact-Sheet-Dummies.pdf

#safersleepweek

The Lullaby Trust, ‘Safer Sleep for babies: a Guide for Parents’,
www.lullabytrust.org.uk/dummies

 

A clear cot is a safer cot

Safer Sleep WeekBabies need just a few basic items for sleep: a firm flat surface and some bedding. New parents now have a massive range of baby products to choose from and it can be really confusing to know what is needed. Our advice is simple: the safest cot is a clear cot.

There is evidence to suggest that babies are at higher risk of SIDS if they have their heads covered and some items added to a cot may increase the risk of head-covering. Unnecessary items in a baby’s cot can also increase the risk of accidents. Make sure that any product you use meets the relevant British safety standard. Whilst evidence on individual items is not widely available, it makes sense to be as cautious as possible. We therefore recommend babies are slept in cots that are kept as clear as possible and specifically advise:

  • No pillows or duvets;
  • No cot bumpers;
  • No soft toys;
  • No loose bedding;
  • No products to keep a baby in one sleeping position such as wedges or straps.

We cannot comment on individual products, but would advise parents to read the safety advice when making choices. Sadly there is no product that can reduce the chance of SIDS and we would advise parents to be cautious about any product that makes such a claim.

#safersleepweek

The Lullaby Trust, ‘Safer Sleep for babies: a Guide for Parents’,
www.lullabytrust.org.uk/clear-cot

Mattresses and bedding

Safer Sleep WeekThe safest place for your baby to sleep is on their own sleep surface, in the same room as you, for at least the first six months. A Moses basket or cot is a safe place for a baby to sleep.

You should use a firm and flat mattress that is protected by a waterproof cover. This will help keep the mattress clean and dry, as the cover can be wiped down.  Make sure your baby’s mattress is in good condition and that it fits the Moses basket or cot properly.

It can be common to use a second-hand mattress either from friends and family, or from your previous children. There is some research that found an increased chance of SIDS when using a second-hand mattress although the link is not yet proven. To help reduce this risk, if you are using a second-hand mattress make sure the mattress you choose was previously completely protected by a waterproof cover, and then use one for your baby as well. The mattress should also still be firm and flat to keep your baby sleeping safely.

Firmly tucked in sheets and blankets (not above shoulder height) or a baby sleeping bag are safe for a baby to sleep in. Be sure to remove any soft toys from the cot before each sleep period. Sleep your baby in the feet-to-foot position and avoid using soft or bulky bedding such as quilts, pillows and duvets.

Pillow use alone has been shown to increase the chance of SIDS occurring by up to 2.5 times, so it may be helpful to talk to one of our helpline advisers if you were thinking of using one with your baby due to concerns for plagiocephaly (or ‘flat head syndrome’). There are techniques you can use that could help plagiocephaly which will not increase the risk of SIDS.

Cot bumpers

Cot bumpers can pose the risk of an accident to your baby once they begin to roll and move about the cot. There have been a number of cases in the UK and abroad where infants have become entangled in the ties and material, or fallen from pulling themselves up on the bumpers. A simple mattress in your cot with no loose bedding or bumpers is the safest sleeping place for a baby.

Download

The Lullaby Trust factsheet on mattresses and bedding
www.lullabytrust.org.uk/file/—–internal-documents/Fact-Sheet-Mattresses-bedding-and-cots.pdf

#safersleepweek

The Lullaby Trust, ‘Safer Sleep for babies: a Guide for Parents’,
www.lullabytrust.org.uk/mattresses-and-bedding

Breastfeeding

Safer Sleep WeekAny breastfeeding, even for a few days, is better than none, but most authorities including the Department of Health now recommend that babies be exclusively breastfed for at least six months. The Department also recommends that that breastfeeding is continued, with the addition of appropriate weaning foods, for as long as the mother and baby want.

Breastfed babies have a lower chance of SIDS

As long ago as 1965 it was shown that babies under 3 months who died of SIDS were less likely to be breastfed than infants who did not die. Since then, numerous studies have supported the protective effects of breastfeeding, with one overview report concluding that breastfeeding reduces the incidence of SIDS by approximately half.

Even a brief period of breastfeeding can be protective for your baby. It has been shown that both partial and exclusive breastfeeding have been associated with a lower SIDS rate, but that exclusive breastfeeding was associated with the lowest risk.

Download:

#safersleepweek

The Lullaby Trust, ‘Safer Sleep for babies: a Guide for Parents’,
www.lullabytrust.org.uk/breastfeeding

 

 

Keep your baby smoke free

Safer Sleep WeekKeep your baby smoke free during pregnancy and after birth

Scientific evidence shows that around 30% of sudden infant deaths could be avoided if mothers didn’t smoke when they were pregnant. Taken together with the risks of smoking around a baby at home, this means that smoking could be linked to 60% of sudden infant deaths.

  • Both you and your partner should try not to smoke during pregnancy and after the birth
  • Smoking both during pregnancy and after your baby is born greatly increases the chance of SIDS, and your baby can be affected by either you or your partner smoking
  • You should also keep your baby out of smoky areas – Don’t let people smoke near your baby and keep your home, car, and other places your baby spends time, smoke free
  • If you or your partner smoke, you should not share a bed with your baby as this greatly increases the chance of SIDS even if you do not smoke in the bedroom

If you smoke 1-9 cigarettes a day during pregnancy you are more than 4 times as likely to have a baby die as a sudden infant death than a woman who didn’t smoke at all during pregnancy.

Even if you did smoke when you were pregnant, you should still try not to expose your baby to smoke after birth as this can help reduce the risk of sudden infant death. Quitting smoking is not easy and will require a lot of discipline, but it is an effort worth making.

For free advice and support to quit smoking call Kent Community Heath now on 0300 123 1220, fill in their online form, text ‘quit’ to 87023 or call at Ashford’s One You shop in Park Mall www.kentcht.nhs.uk/our-services/health-improvement/stop-smoking/

#safersleepweek

The Lullaby Trust, ‘Safer Sleep for babies: a Guide for Parents’,
www.lullabytrust.org.uk/smoking

Avoid letting your baby get too hot

Safer Sleep WeekIt is important to make sure that your baby is a comfortable temperature – not too hot or too cold. The chance of SIDS is higher in babies who get too hot.

A room temperature of 16-20°C, with light bedding or a lightweight well-fitting baby sleep bag that is comfortable and safe for sleeping babies.

It can be difficult to judge the temperature in the room, so use a room thermometer in the rooms where your baby sleeps and plays. A simple room thermometer is available from The Lullaby Trust online shop. For more information please call 020 7802 3200.

Advice on room temperature is intended as a guide. Every baby is different, so while it’s important to be informed about overheating you need to check your baby regularly to see if he or she is too hot. Feel the baby’s tummy or the back of their neck (your baby’s hands and feet will usually be cooler, which is normal). If your baby’s skin is hot or sweaty, remove one or more layers of bedclothes.

Babies who are unwell need fewer, not more bedclothes. Babies do not need to wear hats indoors, nor sleep under a duvet or quilt.

#safersleepweek

The Lullaby Trust, ‘Safer Sleep for babies: a Guide for Parents’,
www.lullabytrust.org.uk/roomtemperature

Sleep safe, sleep sound, share a room with me

Safer Sleep WeekPlace your baby to sleep in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first 6 months, even during the day. A large study of evidence from across Europe found that the risk of sudden infant death was significantly reduced when the infant slept in the same room, but not the same bed, as the parents.

  • 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
  • The chance of SIDS is lower when babies sleep in a separate cot in the same room as their parents

#safersleepweek

The Lullaby Trust, ‘Safer Sleep for babies: a Guide for Parents’,
https://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/room-share

Always place your baby on their back to sleep

Safer Sleep Week

The position your baby is placed to sleep in each night is one of the most protective actions you can take to ensure your baby is sleeping as safely as possible. There is substantial evidence from round the world to show that sleeping your baby on their back (known as the supine position) at the beginning of every sleep or nap significantly reduces the risk of sudden infant death.

  • You should always place your baby on their back to sleep and not on their front or side (unless your doctor has advised you of a medical reason to do so)
  • Sleeping a baby on their front or side greatly increases the chance of SIDS
  • It is important that you always put your baby on their back as part of their regular sleep routine – the chance of SIDS is particularly high for babies who are sometimes placed on their front or side
  • If your baby has rolled onto their tummy, you should turn them onto their back again
  • Once your baby can roll from back to front and back again, on their own, they can be left to find their own position

The best way to make sure your baby sleeps on their back is to do this from day one, and keep putting them to sleep on their backs for every day and night time sleep. It is also important that you keep the same routine for your baby, as babies who are normally slept on their backs but sometimes slept on their fronts are at a great risk of sudden death.

#safersleepweek

The Lullaby Trust, ‘Safer Sleep for babies: a Guide for Parents’,
www.lullabytrust.org.uk/back-to-sleep

KCC improvements to services for disabled

Heathwatch Kent logo

Kent County Council have released new plans for a ‘Lifespan Pathway’, helping individuals transition from Disabled Children Services to Adult Services from April 3rd 2017.

The new services illustrate there will no longer be seperate adult services for Learning Disabilities & Physical Disability. Meaning, individuals with both needs at any age will get the correct and personalised care with less hassle.

This is only one of many changes promoted by the KCC to better the care for service users.

KCC have also released a document to help you understand the changes the new plan will entail. If you would like to know more about the changes, check the document in the link below.

kcc_lifespan_pathway.pdf

Healthwatch Kent 10 March 2017
www.healthwatchkent.co.uk/news/kccs-new-plans-improve-childrens-and-adult-services