Warning to parents over unsafe sleeping after review of sudden deaths of 19 babies

A REVIEW has concluded that unsafe sleeping practices may have been a key factor in the sudden deaths of 19 babies in Wakefield district.

Dr Andrew Furber
Dr Andrew Furber

Wakefield Council is urging parents to always follow ‘safe sleeping’ rules after the local authority carried out a review of 19 child deaths in the district over the last eight years.

The review suggested that unsafe sleeping practices may have been a key factor in the sudden deaths of all 19 babies.

All parents are now being urgently reminded of what they can do to keep their baby safe during the night and during day-time naps and to help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Experts found that half of the babies who died from SIDS had been sharing a bed with one or both parents.

National guidance says the safest place for a baby to sleep is on his or her back and in a cot.

Dr Andrew Furber, Director of Public Health for Wakefield said: “The loss of a baby is always a tragedy. We want to ensure lessons are learned from these terrible losses and that all parents know what they can do to reduce the risk of SIDS to their child.

For this reason we want to warn and remind parents about safe sleeping arrangements and the actions they can take to keep their baby safe.”

Parents can reduce the risk of SIDS affecting their child by avoiding exposure to smoke during the pregnancy and after the birth.

National guidance to prevent SIDS also advises that parents should not sleep in the same bed as their baby if they smoke, drink or take drugs.

Parents should never sleep on a sofa or in an armchair with their baby, because of the risk of rolling on the baby and causing suffocation.

The advice is that babies need to sleep on their backs, and in a separate cot or Moses basket, in the same room as their parents for the first six months.

Parents also need to avoid letting the baby get too hot, and should avoid covering the child’s head, or using loose bedding.

Dr Furber added: “I would urge all parents to familiarise themselves with the all the latest advice and information, so they know they are doing everything they can to keep their baby safe.”

For more information and advice on safe sleeping, visit the Lullaby Trust www.lullabytrust.org.uk