30th March 2011
New parents are being reminded of how babies sleep safely in a campaign to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death.
Tomorrow (Thursday March 31st) leaders from NHS Sheffield, Sheffield City Council and the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) will be on the Town Hall steps in a public demonstration of the correct way of putting a baby to bed.
With Moses baskets and cribs – on loan from independent baby store Rascal Babies, on Furnival Gate - they will show how babies are less at risk from Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) if a few simple steps are followed.
The Safe Sleep campaign is part of Sheffield's Infant Mortality Strategy for the next 10 years and will include raising public awareness alongside professional training across the city with an aim to bring Sheffield's infant mortality rate below the national average by 2020.
At the moment one in every thousand new babies dies as a result of SUDI. The citywide strategy aims to reduce this dramatically by 2020.
It also aims to narrow the gap between communities with high rates of cot death and the city as a whole.
Giles Ratcliffe, lead on Sudden Infant Death at NHS Sheffield said:
"Sheffield currently has twice the national average of Sudden Infant Deaths and so the campaign has been created by a number of local professional bodies with a lot of local input, for example, by talking to local mothers themselves.
"This is a sensitive issue but often the risk can be reduced by following simple guidelines, for example, by placing your baby in a cot or crib in a room with you for the first six months, on their backs and with their feet and the foot of the cot.
"This is what health professionals will be demonstrating on the day.”
The campaign will be launched to professionals earlier in the day at the ‘Better Beginnings’ conference at the Town Hall, being chaired by Sheffield City Council.
Jayne Ludlam, Deputy Director of Children and Young People's Services, said: “It is vital that we get the message across to parents and carers as well as professionals about how to make sure babies sleep safely.
“It is extremely important that we reduce SUDI's and infant mortality here in Sheffield and we hope this campaign will go a long way to achieving this
“At the end of the day if this campaign saves just one life then it has worked.”
Rebecca Johnson, Manager of Rascal Babies on Furnival Gate, added: “We are committed to remaining a place where our customers can confidently shop for not just great looking but safe products to provide peace of mind and a secure environment.
“Therefore we feel it is paramount that we do all we can to ensure we are involved with anything that affects our city."
The recommendation is that you should always place your baby on their back to sleep in a crib or cot in the room with you.
Babies should be placed with their feet touching the foot of the cot (feet to foot position), and blankets tightly fitted to the mattress to prevent them wriggling under them.
Parents are advised never to share a bed with a baby if they have been drinking alcohol, taking drugs or are a smoker.
Other recommendations include not smoking near a baby and never sleeping with a baby on a sofa or armchair. For local advice on stopping smoking, see the Sheffield Stop Smoking Service, www.sheffieldstopsmoking.org.uk
For more information on reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death, www.nhs.uk/Planners/pregnancycareplanner/pages/cotdeath.aspx