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Safer sleeping for babies

Last updated: 07/03/2022

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome 

It's not known why some babies die suddenly and for no apparent reason from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), or cot death.

Experts do know placing a baby to sleep on their back reduces the risk, and exposing a baby to cigarette smoke or allowing them to overheat increases the risk. There is also a link to unsafe sleeping when the adult carer of the baby has been drinking excessive alcohol and this is because it promotes a deep sleep and reduces their ability to be aware of any difficulties the baby may be experiencing.

It's also known there's an association between unsafe sleeping with your baby on a bed, sofa or chair (co-sleeping) and SIDS.

SIDS is rare, so don't let worrying about it stop you enjoying your baby's first few months. To read more please click here. 

If you would like to contact the Health Visiting Services, you can find out more information on who to contact by clicking here. 

Lift the Baby for safer sleeping Campaign 

East Berkshire and Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Groups, along with other local stakeholders partnered together with NHS Creative and London Irish Rugby Club to develop the “#LiftTheBaby” campaign, to promote the risks of unsafe sleeping.

More than 130 babies die in the UK every year as a result of unsafe sleeping, and very sadly, there has been a small, but significant increase in number of children who have died where unsafe sleeping has featured in their death.

Sleeping on a sofa with a baby can increase the risk of infant death by 50 times. If you think you might fall asleep, always lift the baby into a safe space. If you have been drinking alcohol, taken drugs, you smoke, or your baby was a low birth weight, do not share a bed with your baby - always lift the baby into a safe space to sleep.

Visit the Lift the Baby campaign website and view the video featuring the London Irish Rugby Club here. 

The Lullaby Trust 

The Lullaby Trust raises awareness of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), provides expert advice on safer sleep for babies and offers emotional support for bereaved families. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and caring for your baby

We know this is a worrying time for everyone, and that you may have particular concerns if you are pregnant or have a baby. The Lullaby Trust have put together the advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) and caring for your baby that is currently available and will keep updating this as we know more. Click here to read more. 

Advice for Organisations supporting asylum seekers with children

Agencies in East Berkshire are currently supporting asylum seekers who are housed in local hotels as a temporary measure.  It has been noted that some organisations have been providing second hand mattresses to families for people to sleep on the floor where there are not enough beds for each family member. Where children are concerned this obviously raises some concerns about safe sleeping.  Please see the attached advice regarding safe sleeping for children.  Can organisations that provide equipment for families, please provide this advice to the families. 

To download the Every Sleep Counts leaflet - just click here. 

Safer Baby Sleeping Project

In May 2020, Achieving for Children in RBWM formed a Steering Group made up of practitioners from Health Visiting and Social Care and started work on the “Safe Baby Project.” This action was taken in direct response to a baby death in the borough and the concerning national picture. This project particularly focused on how to mitigate the risk factors through early identification, prevention and support to mother’s, father’s and/or parents. The aim of this project was to develop a ‘Safe Baby Project Toolkit’ for infants up to the age of 12 months and a “Spotlight Comms” - a protocol that will guide practitioners in their engagement with mother’s, father’s and/or parents with babies up until 1 the age of 12 months, or 18 months if the infant has special needs, e.g. Global Developmental Delay.

To download the safe baby project toolkit – please click here.  

To download the PowerPoint Presentation - please click here. 

Practitioners can use this tool to advise, assess and monitor the family’s home arrangement with regards to the safety of the baby, as well as help you to identify those that are most at risk.


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