Make sure babies are sleeping safely this Christmas

Peaceful baby lying on a bed while sleeping

Public health experts are offering a festive reminder to parents, carers and grandparents about the importance of safer sleeping for babies over the Christmas holidays.

Risks increase significantly at this time of year as families spend time away from home and sleeping routines change.

Officials at Nottingham City Council are asking parents and carers to be extra vigilant and make appropriate arrangements for overnight stays, either with family or while away from home.

Babies, both newborns and older infants, need lots of sleep during their first few months and it’s important to ensure that they’re sleeping safely at all times. This includes overnight and shorter, daytime naps.

Across the country, nearly 300 babies die suddenly and unexpectedly every year and many of these tragic events could be prevented if all parents and carers followed evidence-based, safer sleep advice. In Nottingham City and across the county since 2009, more than 30 babies have died where unsafe sleeping has been a factor.

With the Christmas holiday season right around the corner, the Lullaby Trust’s Safer Sleep tips should be followed whether baby is sleeping at home or away, at baby’s normal bedtime and during daytime naps.

  • Always place your baby on their back to sleep
  • Keep your baby smokefree during pregnancy and after birth
  • Place your baby to sleep in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first six months
  • Make sure there are no pillows, soft or bulky bedding, or toys in the cot or Moses basket
  • Breastfeed your baby if you can

Things you should do:

  • Use a flat, firm, 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 at a 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
  • Don’t put toys or teddies in the cot where a baby is sleeping

Councillor David Mellen, Portfolio Holder for Early Intervention and Early Years at Nottingham City Council, said: “We all look forward to the Christmas holidays every year and it’s a great time for families to get together and enjoy each other’s company. Often this involves a change of regular sleeping habits for babies, and it is so important for people to understand the importance of making these arrangements a top priority.

“It’s not just for parents either. Grandparents and other family members need to be familiar with safer sleep because many children spend the night away from home. We need to work together to make sure that everyone is armed with the potentially life-saving knowledge to keep their baby safe at bedtime.”

For more information about safer sleep for babies, parents and carers can visit: http://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/safer-sleep

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