This report draws on data from the National Child Mortality Database (NCMD) to investigate how illness around the time of birth affects the health of children up to the age of 10, and to draw out learning and recommendations for service providers and policymakers.
The Lullaby Trust welcomes the new National Child Mortality Database report and its findings, which will help us, and other organisations, learn more about supporting families with vulnerable babies. We particularly welcome recommendation 10 in the report and agree that all parents with premature and low birthweight babies should be given targeted safer sleep advice to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Babies who fall into these two categories are at an increased risk of SIDS so it is vital that families and carers know how to mitigate the risks with particular regard to co-sleeping, sleep position and overheating.
To reach more families and carers we are actively working with the Royal College of Midwives to produce new resources aimed at parents with premature babies, and we have also collaborated with premature baby charity Bliss on an Instagram Live to answer questions from families on social media.
The increased risk of SIDS is no doubt a worry for parents of premature and low birthweight babies so it is extremely important that they are provided with safer sleep advice in a timely and accessible manner. The safest place for premature and low birthweight babies to sleep is on their backs in a separate, clear sleep space such as a cot or Moses Basket. It is also particularly important that they are kept away from cigarette smoke.
Our advice on reducing the risk of SIDS for premature babies can be found here.