Sunday, 12 March 2017

Increased awareness of risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

I am delighted to support the 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 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.

It is important to recognise the role of health professionals and family workers who provide advice to new parents on how to sleep their baby safely and the need to ensure they receive the training and support to continue this vital work.

Francine Bates Chief Executive of The Lullaby Trust, whose aim is to halve the number of babies who die from SIDS to below 150 said:

“The results of this survey suggest that although we’ve come a long way in reducing SIDS rates, more needs to be done to ensure that all parents and carers in the North West know the basics of safer sleep. 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.”


About the survey
The survey was commissioned by The Lullaby Trust and conducted online by OnePoll at during November 2016. A total of 500 UK parents of children aged 0-2 years old participated in the survey.

About Safer Sleep Week

Safer Sleep Week is The Lullaby Trust’s annual national awareness raising campaign. Launched in 2015, Safer Sleep Week aims to make sure parents, carers and health professionals know the importance of safer sleep and are aware of how to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Going back to basics and helping parents get to grips with the key aspects of safer is the priority of this year’s Safer Sleep Week campaign. Throughout the week (13-19 March) the charity will be promoting the ABCs of safer sleep to parents and health professionals across social media, in shopping centre baby change facilities and on screens in GP surgeries throughout England.

The ABCs are: ALWAYS sleep your baby on their BACK in a CLEAR cot or sleep space (free of bumpers, toys and pillows).

The campaign runs 13-19 March 2017. For more information visit

About The Lullaby Trust
The Lullaby Trust provides expert advice on safer sleep for babies supports bereaved families and raises awareness on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Working with the NHS we run a national health-visitor led service for bereaved parents, Care of Next Infant (CONI) programme, which supports families before and after the birth of their new baby.

We are committed to supporting research to understand why babies die suddenly and unexpectedly and to find out more about how to prevent these tragic deaths.

The Lullaby Trust also runs an information line for parents and professionals (0808 802 6869) and a dedicated line for bereaved families (0808 802 6868). Both are free to call from landlines and mobiles.

Advice including, factsheets and the latest research can be found at

We campaign tirelessly, lobbying government to keep sudden infant death on the public health agenda.

Christina Rolles
Communications Manager
The Lullaby Trust
11 Belgrave Road, London SW1V 1RB
Telephone: 020 7802 3200

Reg charity no: 262191