New guidance on safe co-sleeping for parents

The Lullaby Trust has issued new safe co-sleeping guidance for parents

Do you co-sleep with your baby, or have you ever done it? New guides on safe co-sleeping issued by the Lullaby Trust this week aim to highlight the importance of open dialogue between parents and healthcare professionals on the subject of co-sleeping, educate and inform parents, and reduce the risks.

Co-sleeping, where you sleep in close proximity to your baby, is more common than you think - a survey released this week by the Lullaby Trust over over 8,500 parents found that 76% of parents have co-slept with their child at some point.

The survey also revealed that 40% of parents have done so in circumstances that are potentially risky, such as sleeping on a sofa, or after they have drunk alcohol. These risk factors, among others, increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS. And according to recent figures, as many as 122 babies die a year in co-sleeping circumstances.

As co-sleeping is not something that's not previously been recommended, the Lullaby Trust feel it's something parents can't be honest about, and as a result don't receive information on how to do it safely.

The Lullaby Trust has collaborated with Public Health England, Unicef Baby Friendly and Basis to produce new guides for health professionals and parents.

Key advice included in the guides includes:

  • Keeping the space around the baby clear of pillows or duvets
  • Always place your baby to sleep on their back
  • Avoid pets or other children in the bed
  • Make sure your baby cannot fall out of bed or become trapped between the mattress and the wall
  • Never leave your baby alone in the bed.

As well as circumstances in which you should NOT co-sleep, which include:

  • If you or anyone else in the room is a smoker or has recently drunk alcohol, or taken drugs that might make you sleepy
  • If you are very tired
  • Your baby was born prematurely or underweight

You can download the safe co-sleeping publications here.

It's important to make sure you're aware of the guidelines and make safe and educated choices for your family. Make sure you speak to a healthcare professional if you have any questions

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