West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has joined baby charity The Lullaby Trust in urging local authorities to ensure parents receive information on how to sleep their baby safely. The call comes as part of Safer Sleep Week (9-15 March), the charity’s annual national campaign to raise awareness of SIDS (also known as cot death) and the steps parents can take to reduce the risk of it occurring.
According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, while the overall SIDS rates in 2017 for England and Wales showed a 16% decline since 2016 and a 33% overall decline since 2008, the rates in the North West have fallen more slowly and are amongst the highest in the country, considerably higher than the national average.
A national survey of over 7,000 new parents conducted by The Lullaby Trust, found that a third of parents in the North West are not aware of one of the most vital pieces of safer sleep advice sleeping a baby on their back for every sleep. Sleeping a baby on their back for every sleep is one of the most protective actions that can be taken to reduce the risk of SIDS. Since this came into public awareness with the Back to Sleep campaign in 1992, the rate of SIDS deaths has dropped by 82%.
The survey also showed that 48% of new parents in the North West have put their baby in an unsafe sleeping environment in order to get them to sleep for longer. Almost half of parents surveyed admitted to taking actions which could greatly increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), also known as cot death. These included unsafe co-sleeping, such as a parent co-sleeping with their baby on their chest or on a sofa or armchair. An adult falling asleep on a sofa or armchair with a baby increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by up to 50 times.
The survey results are a troubling indication that many parents in the North West are still not equipped with the information they need to keep their baby as safe as possible. Ms Cooper recognises the important role of local authorities and health trusts in ensuring all parents receive information on how to reduce the risk of SIDS.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“It is vital that parents are receiving the best advice and support for caring for their babies and are made fully aware of the best way for babies to sleep.
“I fully support the work done by the Lullaby Trust to support parents and urging local authorities and health bodies to provide that advice and support to new parents.”
Jenny Ward, Chief Executive of The Lullaby Trust, a charity who work to bring down the number of SIDS deaths, said:
“The results of this survey suggest that although we’ve come a long way in reducing SIDS rates, more needs to be done to ensure that all parents and carers in the North West are aware of the importance of following safer sleep practices for every sleep day and night.
“We strongly urge local authorities and health trusts to help us bring down the number of deaths in the North West by ensuring safer sleep messages consistently reach all families.”
For more information about safer sleep visit https://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/safer-sleep-advice/