Northamptonshire Safeguarding Children Board (NSCB), the group responsible for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in Northamptonshire, have launched a campaign aimed at preventing avoidable deaths of newborn and small babies in response to a rise in the number of sudden unexplained infant deaths linked to unsafe sleep environments in the county.
Nationally over 300 babies a year die suddenly and unexpectedly from co-sleeping with a parent or carer. Northamptonshire is above the national average, with six deaths since December 2014 attributed to unsafe sleeping situations and therefore probably preventable deaths. Ensuring that babies sleep in their own cot or Moses basket in a room with the parent/carer will reduce the incidence of babies dying in unsafe sleeping conditions.
Sleeping next to your baby, or co-sleeping, is one of the biggest causes of death for babies under a year old. Whilst parents may consider it to be a secure physical and emotional sleeping environment for their baby, sharing a sleep area with a baby can be extremely dangerous as it increases the child's chances of dying by accidental suffocation. Young babies have not developed the muscles in their necks to be able to move their heads or lift their head away from danger even if they are not able to breathe.
The “Safer Sleeping with your Baby” campaign recommends that the safest place for babies and infants to sleep is in their own cot or Moses basket, and in the parent’s room for the first six months of life. Babies should be gently put back onto their backs up to the age of 6 months and care should be taken that the baby does not overheat due to too many blankets or high room temperature. It is also advised that babies and infants should never be left to sleep for long periods in travel systems or car seats.