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Safer Sleep for babies saves lives!

Although sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is now very rare, over 200 babies still die every year.

The work to promote safer sleep for babies arose after studies found that deaths might have been prevented if parents, carers and wider family members had an increased awareness of safer sleep guidelines.

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) – sometimes known as "cot death" – is the sudden, unexpected and unexplained death of an apparently healthy baby.

The exact cause of SIDS is unknown, but babies who die of SIDS are thought to have problems in the way they respond to certain stresses and how they regulate their heart rate, breathing and temperature.

Many professionals who work with families believe that safer sleep is a conversation that only Health Visitors should be having with new parents and carers, however, whether you work in social care, housing or the police, your role is crucial when it comes to identifying and responding to the risks of SIDS.

By all professionals playing their part and talking to families and supporting them with understanding how to avoid the specific risks for their baby, they can help to reduce the number of babies dying of SIDS.

To help professionals in identify where babies are most at risk of SIDS, and for advice on steps that can be taken to prevent this, the following guide and reference card has been developed for professionals from all agencies to use when working with new parents and carers of babies:


Remember: Don’t forget Dad!

Dads often have a key role in the care of their baby, in some cases they are the primary carer. It is therefore crucial they understand how to reduce the risk of SIDS and sleep their baby safely.

A recent survey commissioned by The Lullaby Trust has found that less than a third of dads are being given information on the basic steps they can take to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

Research also showed that the bulk of information and support offered to new parents was aimed primarily at mothers, and therefore health teams in conjunction with Berkshire West and East Berkshire CCG’s developed the following short film for new dads as part of the Lift the Baby campaign:


The Lullaby Trust

The Lullaby Trust are a national charity who provide lifesaving advice to help parents, carers and professionals reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome and provide a support service for families who experience the sudden loss of a baby or young child.

Below are some quick guides for professionals, parents and carers, however a range of further resources are available to access via the Lullaby Trust’s website to support the promotion of safer sleep for babies:


For learning from local safeguarding reviews see:


* The Safer Sleep Guide for Practitioners has been developed with thanks to Nottinghamshire Safeguarding Children Partnership and Nottingham City Safeguarding Children Partnership

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