The survey of 500 parents with children aged 0-2 years, found that while most are aware of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) there is confusion around one of the most fundamental steps to reduce the risk of SIDS: sleeping a baby on its back for every sleep.
The survey shows 38% of parents are unsure whether they can sleep a baby on their front and 55% are unsure whether to sleep a baby on their side. The survey results are a worrying indication that parents are still not equipped with the information they need to reduce the risk of SIDS. Evidence shows that babies who are slept on their back for every sleep are 6 times less likely to die from SIDS than those who sleep on their front or side.
Sleeping babies on their front was commonplace until the national “Back to Sleep” campaign in 1991. This campaign along with continued awareness raising of SIDS and safer sleep, by The Lullaby Trust, over the 25 years since, has led to a widespread change in how parents sleep their babies. As a result SIDS rates in the UK have reduced by 85% since 1991. However, the rates could still be much lower and research has shown that if all parents followed safer sleep advice, the lives of many more babies could be saved.
The survey results indicate that many parents are still not clear about safer sleep and more needs to be done to ensure all parents are aware of this life saving advice.
The Lullaby Trust is running Safer Sleep Week to help parents make sense of the advice. Throughout the week (13-19 March), the charity will be promoting the ABCs of safer sleep, across social media, in shopping centre baby change facilities and on screens in GP surgeries throughout England.
The ABCs are: ALWAYS sleep your baby on their BACK in a CLEAR cot or sleep space (free of bumpers, toys and pillows).
Francine Bates Chief Executive of The Lullaby Trust says : “25 years after the Back to Sleep campaign, the survey results have shown us we need to go back to basics. Following the ABC’s as part of a baby’s routine for every sleep day and night is a simple way to help protect them from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and allow parents the peace of mind to enjoy this special time with their baby.”
Bereaved father Robert Weeks sadly knows only too well the importance of raising awareness of SIDS and safer sleep. “On the 3rd January 2012 our lives changed forever when our beautiful daughter Sophia died suddenly and unexpectedly. She was just about to turn twelve weeks old.
“We have still never had an explanation for why our healthy and ‘normal’ daughter died. We were one of 221 families that year whose child died for no apparent reason and with no cause found, even after a post-mortem was held.
“I think the work that The Lullaby Trust does to raise awareness of safer sleep for babies is absolutely vital. Every new parent should be made aware of this information if it will prevent other families from going through what we have been through.”