Safety

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/

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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

Bed sharing

Safer Sleep WeekSome parents choose to bed-share with their babies. This means that their baby shares the same adult bed for most of the night, and not just to be comforted or fed. It is important for you to know that there are some circumstances in which this can be very dangerous.

Bed sharing increases the chance of SIDS and is particularly dangerous if:

  • Either you or your partner smokes (even if you do not smoke in the bedroom)
  • Either you or your partner has drunk alcohol or taken drugs (including medications that may make you drowsy)

Similarly, bed sharing with a baby of low birth weight (2.5kg or 51/2lbs or less) or a premature baby (37 weeks or less) is strongly linked to an increased risk of SIDS.

You should never sleep together with your baby if any of the above points apply to you, or even if you just feel very tired. You must be especially careful when giving feeds that you are not in a position where you could both fall asleep in the bed, an armchair or on the sofa together.

Parents may still choose to bed-share with their baby. If this is your choice, it is important that you are informed about how to minimise the risks. It is important to note that a high proportion of infants who die as a result of SIDS are found with their head covered by loose bedding. Ensure there are no pillows, sheets, blankets or any other items in the bed with you that could obstruct your baby’s breathing or cause them to overheat.

Never sleep on a sofa or in an armchair with your baby

This is one of the most high risk situations for your baby. Studies have found that sharing a sofa or armchair with a baby whilst you both sleep is associated with an extremely high risk of SIDS. One study found that approximately one-sixth of infants in England and Wales who died of SIDS were found sleeping with an adult on a sofa.

Make sure that you do not accidentally fall asleep with your baby on a sofa. If you think you might fall asleep, put the baby down in a safe place to sleep. If you are breastfeeding, have your partner stay up with you, breastfeed in a different position where you are confident you might not fall asleep, or feed the baby somewhere else.

#safersleepweek

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

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.

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

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.

#safersleepweek

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

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)
www.askthe.police.uk/content/Q954.htm

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…)