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


The Lullaby Trust, ‘Safer Sleep for babies: a Guide for Parents’,

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.


The Lullaby Trust, ‘Safer Sleep for babies: a Guide for Parents’,

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.


Healthwatch Kent 10 March 2017

Safer sleep for babies

Safer Sleep WeekMeeting and getting to know your baby is an extremely exciting and rewarding time. It’s also the beginning of a new relationship. Babies need a lot of sleep during the first few months of their lives so it’s important to ensure that they are sleeping as safely as possible.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden and unexpected death of a baby where no cause is found. While SIDS is rare, it can still happen and there are steps parents can take to help reduce the chance of this tragedy occurring.

Although we don’t yet know how to completely prevent SIDS, it is possible to significantly lower the chances of it happening by following the advice opposite. You should try to follow the advice for all sleep periods where possible, not just at night.

This guide lists the essential things you can do, or avoid doing, to help lower the chance of SIDS and explains why they are so important. You can also talk to your midwife or health visitor if you have any questions or concerns, or get in touch with us.

Things you can do…

  • Always place your baby on their back to sleep.
  • Keep your baby smoke free during pregnancy and after birth.
  • Breastfeed your baby, if you can.
  • Place your baby to sleep in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first 6 months.
  • Use a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in good condition.

Things to avoid…

  • Never sleep on a sofa or in an armchair with your baby.
  • Don’t sleep in the same bed as your baby if you smoke, drink, take drugs or are extremely tired, or if your baby was born prematurely or was of low birth weight.
  • Avoid letting your baby get too hot.
  • Don’t cover your baby’s face or head while sleeping or use loose bedding.


The Lullaby Trust, ‘Safer Sleep for babies: a Guide for Parents’,

Changes to rules for backless booster seats

Q954: I’ve heard that the rules in relation to backless booster seats for children have changed in 2017– is this true?

The UN have notified the Department for Transport that there are new rules for the manufacture of backless booster seats. The new rules mean that manufacturers aren’t allowed to introduce new models of backless booster seats for children shorter than 125cm or weighing less than 22kg.

However, it’s important to realise that the change doesn’t affect existing models of seats or cushions and it certainly doesn’t mean they’re unsafe or illegal. Therefore, if you have such a seat, you can still use it and you won’t be breaking the law if you continue to use it. The change has been brought about because research indicates that hi-backed booster seats offer better protection than backless booster seats, especially in side impacts.

Note that if you’re about to buy a booster seat there may still be some of the older models available for sale. So if you want the new specification hi-backed booster seat, make sure you read the label and know what you’re buying. We would suggest you only buy from a reputable source and seek clarification from the shop if you need it.
‘Ask the Police’ (Police National Legal Database)

Smoke alarms don’t wake children – advice

Kent Fire and Rescue LogoNews that sleeping children are not woken by smoke alarms has prompted Kent Fire and Rescue Service to advise parents to wake children as part their fire escape plan.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service Community Safety Manager Colin King has said:

“Working smoke alarms save lives and their use has significantly contributed to the long-term downward trend in fire fatalities. They can provide valuable early warning of a fire, allowing families to get out, stay out and call 999, but it is also crucial that people test their smoke alarms once a week.

“However as this research indicates that some children may not wake to the sound of a smoke alarm; parents, guardians and responsible adults should ensure that they prepare an escape plan that includes waking and evacuating children as part of their plan.” (more…)

2 weeks left for primary school applications

Kent County CouncilYou must apply for a primary school place, by 16th January 2017, if:

  • l your child is due to start primary or infant school (reception year)
  • l your child is at infant school (year 2) and is due to start junior school (year 3)
  • l your child is at primary school (year 2) and you want your child to move to junior school at the start of year 3.
  • If your child is at infant school (year 2) and you want to apply for a year 3 place at a primary school (rather than a junior school) you must apply for an in year admission.

Apply for a school place:


Go to Kent Online Admissions

By post.

Once completed send to: The Primary Admissions Team, Room 2.20, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1XQ.

More information

For more information read the KCC guide to primary school places (PDF, 6.3 MB).

If you need advice call 03000 41 21 21 or email

Safer Sleeping campaign supports Kent parents

A new campaign is underway in Kent to support parents with young babies, offering vital safety advice to protect their children and reduce the chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Around 290 babies and toddlers die every year of SIDS in the UK. Each year in Kent, approximately nine babies under a year old die unexpectedly in their sleep.

Research has shown that several parental and infant care factors are more frequently associated with babies who die of SIDS. There are no obvious reasons for these deaths, but factors such as overheating and co-sleeping do increase the risk, so parents who follow the safer sleep advice can significantly lower the chances of this occurring.

The multi-agency Kent Safeguarding Children’s Board and partner organisations have developed innovative thermometer cards which will help parents understand the issues and monitor the temperature of the room in which their baby is sleeping. These are currently being given to parents with key safety messages by health visitors and midwives. Swale Health Visitor Tracey Methley-Keen believes it’s a vital support tool: “It’s really awful for parents when they are just so tired and struggling to get their baby to sleep that they decide to lay down with the baby or they wrap it up in lots of layers to avoid it waking up cold, especially at this time of year when the temperature drops.”

She added: “Many parents often don’t realise how dangerous this can be and we need to keep having the conversations to remind them – the thermometer cards are a valuable visual reminder and a great conversation prompt.” (more…)

ITL Sponsor Bright Sparks Award

Discovery park's Kimberley Anderson with fellow KM Bright Spark supporters

Discovery park’s Kimberley Anderson with fellow KM Bright Spark supporters

South Ashford based medical technology firm, ITL launched The KM Bright Spark Awards 2017 alongside fellow sponsors at Discovery Park, last week.

The community initiative, which aims to promote science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), is a celebration of bright young minds. Entries are now open for student teams with exciting projects that feature cross-curricular collaborations in STEM subjects.

Integrated Technologies Ltd (ITL) is an awards partner, alongside Pfizer, Benenden Hospital Trust and Prendon Panels. The awards, which are open to primary and secondary school teams of all ages, invite students to showcase their science projects in front of a panel of industry experts; known as ‘the dragons’. 2017 will be the third year that ITL have sponsored the awards.

The annual awards have a Dragon’s Den-style format with students invited on stage to showcase their science projects with the chance to win prizes. The three categories are: innovation, investigation and invention. (more…)

Child car seats

ROSPA Logo Accidents don't have to happenFor many of us it goes without saying that strapping your little ones into a properly fitted car seat is the safest way to travel with them. Not only that – it’s also the law.

Now that the weather is colder, many families will be swapping their spring/summer strolls in the park for trips in the car, wrapping their children up warm in their winter coats and scarves, leading to lots of people asking, “just how safe it is to strap children into car seats while they are wearing their winter coats?”

The answer is that clothing can affect how snugly the seat’s harness fits the child, so it’s important to check it is snug on every journey. If your child is wearing a thick jacket or body suit the harness will not be close enough to his/her body, which means it will be too loose. In a collision, this would allow the child’s body to move too much before the harness starts to restrain the child, which reduces the safety of the seat considerably. We do not recommend that thick jackets or bodysuits are worn. If a child was wearing a thick coat on a previous journey, and is wearing something less bulky on the next journey, it is doubly important to check the harness fits snugly.  So, if more than two fingers can fit between the child’s chest and the harness, it is too loose. (more…)