A survey of over 1,000 new and expectant parents in the UK showed that 41% of parents had been gifted a sleeping product for their baby which could put their little one’s safety at risk.
The Lullaby Trust also found that nearly a third of parents (28%) don’t know how to check if the sleeping products they receive for their baby meet with British Standards.
Not only are parents unsure about how to check if baby products meet with British Standards, 17% told The Lullaby Trust that they don’t know how to check if second hand baby sleep products are safe for their baby either.
19-year-old mum Madison told The Lullaby Trust: “Other than Googling a product, I didn’t know how to check if the sleeping products I was buying for my baby were safe. And even when searching online there could be different pieces of conflicting information and opinions.”
As families start buying Christmas presents for their babies, The Lullaby Trust warns that parents and other relatives need to be aware of the risks many baby sleep products pose to infants. Positive reviews from other consumers does not mean a product meets basic safety tests, or is recommended to help create the safest sleep environment for a baby.
Worryingly, 1 in 5 parents told The Lullaby Trust that they plan on getting items such as cot bumpers, sleep positioners, pods and furry sleep blankets for their baby this Christmas. However, these products don’t comply with evidence-based safer sleep advice and are not recommended by the Lullaby Trust. Some could increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or accidents occurring. In 2019 there were 196 unexplained infant deaths in the UK, according to the latest figures from the ONS.
Jenny Ward, Chief Executive of The Lullaby Trust says: “As the leading charity on safer sleep for babies, it is concerning that families are given a false sense of security about products just because it may be sold by a well-known online or high street brand. Several manufacturers make inaccurate claims about their products and SIDS and it can be hard for parents to know which products are right for their baby amongst the myriad baby sleep products on the market to choose from.”
The Lullaby Trust’s safer sleep advice, which is used by NHS health professionals around the UK, recommends that babies sleep on a firm, flat waterproof mattress in a clear sleep space, clear of any bulky bedding or toys, with either tucked in sheets and blankets (not above shoulder height) or a baby sleep bag.
Pillows, soft bulky bedding and duvets can pose a risk to babies under 12 months and can increase the risk of SIDS. These products can lead to overheating and potentially obstruct a baby’s airway if they roll or their face becomes covered in loose bedding.
Reassuringly, The Lullaby Trust’s survey found that in the lead up to the festive period, over a third of new or expectant parents selected safe sleep products for their babies: 39% said they will purchase a baby room thermometer and 12% said they are going to buy a Moses basket.
To support families with choosing sleeping products for their baby, The Lullaby Trust gives these key pieces of advice:
- Check whether items comply with British Standards and follow safer sleep guidelines. If a product complies with a standard it should be stated on the product, its packaging or website.
- Avoid soft heavy bedding such as pillows and duvets
- Check that anything you buy for your baby to sleep on is firm, waterproof and entirely flat with no raised or cushioned areas.
For more information on choosing baby sleep products, visit: https://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/safer-sleep-advice/sleeping-products/
NOTES TO EDITORS
About the survey
The survey was conducted by The Lullaby Trust online in November 2021. A total of 1,193 responses were gathered.
To set up an interview with a spokesperson from The Lullaby Trust, please contact:
Calum Ross, Communications Manager, email@example.com
Nimtaz-Tanya Noordin, Interim Head of Communications and External Affairs,
About The Lullaby Trust
The Lullaby Trust provides expert advice on safer sleep for babies supports bereaved families and raises awareness on sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Working with the local providers of public healthcare services we run a national health-visitor led service for bereaved parents, Care of Next Infant (CONI) programme, which supports families before and after the birth of their new baby.
We are committed to supporting research to understand why babies die suddenly and unexpectedly and to find out more about how to prevent these tragic deaths.