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Need for more support for parents on sleeping their baby safely

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SIDS rates have dropped since the Back to Sleep SIDS rates have dropped since the Back to Sleep campaign

More than half of parents do not know how to ensure that their baby sleeps safely, a survey by the lullaby trust has found.

The survey of 500 parents with children aged 0-2 years old, found that while most are aware of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), there is a lack of awareness that sleeping a baby on its back for every sleep reduces the chance of SIDS occurring. The survey found that 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. According to the Lullaby Trust, babies who are slept on their back for every sleep are six times less likely to die from SIDS than those who sleep on their front or side.

‘Stressing to prospective parents about the need for their baby to be put to sleep on its back is standard midwifery advice and has been so for many years,’ said Louise Silverton, director for midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives. ‘There is strong evidence about putting babies to sleep on their back and a reduction in the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, so this is important advice. This survey shows there is clearly a need for more education and support for women and their partners who are expecting the birth of a baby.’

Since the launch of the ‘Back to Sleep’ campaign in 1991, SIDS rates in the UK have reduced by 85%. However, according to the Lullaby Trust, 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.

‘25 years after the Back to Sleep campaign, the survey results have shown us we need to go back to basics,’ said Francine Bates, chief executive of The Lullaby Trust. ‘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.’

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