Black Country Midwives, Maternity Support Workers and Neonatal Nurses are all supporting a national campaign to reduce the number of baby deaths in the region where unsafe sleeping habits have been identified.
The Black Country Local Maternity and Neonatal System (LMNS) is highlighting the Lullaby Trust’s Safer Sleep Week which runs from today (Monday 13) until Friday 17 March.
The campaign raises awareness of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and the simple advice that can reduce the risk of this.
The safest place for a baby to sleep is in a clear, flat, separate sleep space. Many parents co-sleep with their baby at least some of the time and many parents have accidentally fallen asleep in bed with their baby.
The Black Country Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP) has noted an increased number of cases where unsafe sleeping practices have been identified. Since April last year to date, 76 out of 124 deaths have involved babies under 12 months old.
Sally Roberts, LMNS Senior Responsible Officer and Chief Nursing Officer, said: “This is such an important campaign from the Lullaby Trust and one that it is vital for all healthcare professionals and parents to take note of.
“Having a new baby is absolutely wonderful and the most precious time. Losing a baby is devastating and the grief never goes away. Being a new parent is exhausting and it is, of course, easy to see that sometimes a parent may doze off while holding baby or in bed with baby. Sadly, this is where tragedy can strike.
“The LMNS is supporting safer Sleep Week by ensuring it shares safer sleeping messages and continues to work with Black Country colleagues and parents to drive these home.”
CDOP said that while a small number of cases will be directly due to unsafe sleeping practices, this week is an opportunity to highlight the increased number of cases it has reviewed that have modifiable factors. These can be substance misuse, overcrowding, smoking in the household or drinking alcohol. The risk of SIDS increases where one or more of these factors have been identified alongside unsafe sleeping practices.
The theme for the week is co-sleeping. Every new and expectant parent needs to know the advice on how to co-sleep more safely, regardless of how they plan to sleep. This will allow parents to prepare a safer space for planned co-sleeping, or if they fall asleep without intending to.