“Babies can and do die in high risk co-sleeping situations. If given the right advice, parents can prepare for planned and unplanned co-sleeping that will help to mitigate those risks and reduce the chance of SIDS.”
The Lullaby Trust is urging parents to have open discussion with health professionals on co-sleeping in a bid to do it more safely.
It is not uncommon for parents to doze off with their baby – the survey found 33 per cent of parents had shared a bed with their baby in an unplanned situation.
The Lullaby Trust has collaborated with Public Health England, Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative and Basis to produce a guide for health professionals as well as resources they can share with parents. The guide emphasises the vital importance of having open, non-judgmental conversations with parents about safer sleep, including co-sleeping.
Parents are advised to keep the space around the baby clear of pillows and duvets, always sleep babies on their back, avoid letting pets or other children in the bed, check that the baby cannot become trapped between the mattress and the wall. Parents are advised to never leave a baby alone in an adult bed and never sleep with a baby on a sofa or armchair.
Parents should not co-sleep if anyone in the bed smokes, anyone in the bed has recently drunk any alcohol or anyone in the bed has taken any drugs that could make them drowsy. Parents should never co-sleep with babies born prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) or weighing under 2.5kg (5½lbs) when they were born.
The survey was commissioned by The Lullaby Trust and conducted online by Bounty during January 2019. A total of 8,551 parents with children aged under 2 years participated in the survey.
For more advice on safer sleep for your baby, download the free guide here or visit The Lullaby Trust.