Warning to parents over unsafe sleeping after review of sudden deaths of 19 babies

Dr. Andrew Furber.
Dr. Andrew Furber.

A review has concluded that unsafe sleeping practices may have been a key factor in the sudden deaths of 19 babies in Wakefield district.

People are being advised that the safest place for babies to sleep is on their back in a cot - not in the same bed as their parents.

Wakefield Council issued the warning after carrying out the review of 19 child deaths.

The council’s report suggested that unsafe sleeping practices may have been a factor in the deaths.

In half of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) cases, babies had been sharing a bed with one or both of their parents, Wakefield Council said.

Dr Andrew Furber, the district’s director of public health, said: “The loss of a baby is always a tragedy.

“We want to ensure lessons are learned from these terrible losses and that all parents know what they can do to reduce the risk of SIDS to their child.

“For this reason we want to warn and remind parents about safe sleeping arrangements and the actions they can take to keep their baby safe.”

Babies should sleep on their backs, and in a separate cot or Moses basket, in the same room as their parents for the first six months.

Dr Furber said: “I would urge all parents to familiarise themselves with the all the latest advice and information, so they know they are doing everything they can to keep their baby safe.”

Guidance on how to keep babies safe:

*National guidance says parents should avoid exposure to smoke during pregnancy and after birth.

*They should not sleep in the same bed as their baby if they drink, smoke or take drugs.

*Parents should never sleep on a sofa or armchair with their baby because of the risk of rolling over and causing suffocation.

*It is also advised that they avoid letting the baby get too hot and should not cover the child’s head or use loose bedding.

*For safe sleeping advice log on to www.lullabytrust.org.uk