Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, has joined Baby charity, The Lullaby Trust in urging local authorities to ensure health professionals in the North West receive the training and support they need to deliver safer sleep messages to all families.
The call comes as part of Safer Sleep Week, the charity’s national campaign to raise awareness of SIDS (often referred to as cot death) and the lifesaving advice that parents can follow to reduce the risk of it occurring.
The national survey commissioned by charity The Lullaby Trust, found that 37% of parents in the North West are unsure of one of the most fundamental steps to reduce the risk of SIDS: sleeping a baby on its back for every sleep.
Evidence shows that babies who are slept on their back for every sleep cycle 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 shows 29% of North West parents are unsure whether they can sleep a baby on their front and 37% are unsure whether to sleep a baby on their side.
According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, while the overall SIDS rates in 2014 for England and Wales showed a 17% decline since 2013 and a 39% overall decline since 2004, the rate in the North West has fallen more slowly but is currently the same as the national average. However, 26 babies still died in the North West in 2014 so more can and should be done. The survey results are a troubling indication that many parents in the North West are not still not equipped with the information they need to keep their baby as safe as possible.
Safer Sleep Week runs from the 13-19 March 2017.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“Health professionals who provide advice to new parents on how to position and monitor their baby safely while they sleep have an incredibly important role in supporting new parents and their advice often saves lives.
“But we must ensure that each locality have staff in place who are adequately trained so every family with a new-born get a basic level of support and someone to turn to with the questions we all have at one time or another.
“The results in this survey are promising, and show just how far we’ve come in reducing rates of Sudden Infant Deaths over the past 20 years, but more needs to be done to ensure all parents and carers across the North West know the basics so their new born baby has a safe night’s sleep.
“I’ll be getting in touch with the Department of Health, as well as the local authority, to see what more can be done to extend basic support across the region.”
Francine Bates, Chief Executive of The Lullaby Trust, said:
“The Lullaby Trust provides training for around 3,500 health care professionals each year and calls on local authorities to ensure that safer sleep messages consistently reach all families, helping to prevent avoidable deaths now and in the future.”
To find out more, including statistics for the North West, tips as well as who to contact, visit the Lullaby Trust’s website at: