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Where will your baby sleep tonight?

Published Thursday, 17 November 2016

We are all aware that drinking affects our judgement hence we do not drink and drive. Similarly, it affects our ability to look after children.

Jackie taylor health visitor with karolina marek and baby amelia ff2

People have been known to make decisions with tragic consequences that they wouldn’t normally make when sober.

That’s the message from the Coventry Safeguarding Children Board to raise awareness of the importance of putting babies to bed safely.

Between April 2008 and May 2015 there were 35 unexpected deaths of children aged 0-2 across Coventry and Warwickshire, where there was no clear cause of death. Of those, 30 had been placed in an unsafe sleeping position for their final sleep.

Julia Darby, Community Midwifery Team leader for University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust said,

“It is every parent's right to know the factors that increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death for their baby. It is reassuring as a midwife to see the message regarding babies sleeping on their back within a cot or moses basket, has been taken on board by families.

“There does need to be more awareness and understanding about how caring for your baby when under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a risk. Alcohol and drugs, including some prescribed medication can cloud your judgement especially when you are also tired.”

While the cause of death for the 35 babies was un-known, there are a number of known risk factors that Midwives and Health Visitors have been sharing with parents over the last few years to raise awareness of safer sleeping positions:

  • The safest place for a baby to sleep is in a cot in the same room as parents until 6 months old
  • Place baby on its back to sleep – every time.
  • Place baby’s feet to the foot of the cot.
  • Seek medical advice if your baby is unwell.

Midwives, Health Visiting teams and Children’s Centre staff across Coventry and Warwickshire have received training to help parents and carers understand how to put children to sleep safely.

Each Health visiting team in Coventry has a Care of Next Infant (CONI) co-ordinator who works with pregnant women who have previously lost a child aged 0-2 unexpectedly. These trained professionals offer a package of care throughout pregnancy to support mums before and after the birth of their baby.

For more information on safe sleeping please speak to your health visitor or visit the lullaby trust website

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