More than half of all new mums with babies under six months old say their greatest fear is that their baby will die in their sleep, according to a new survey from the safer baby sleep charity The Lullaby Trust* and Bounty Parenting Club.
The survey of over 1,800 women who had recently had a baby under six months old, showed that 62% said that they worried more about their babies dying suddenly and unexpectedly than being harmed in accidents or contracting meningitis.
Despite their fears, over half of mums are not following sleep safety advice and admit to having fallen asleep on a sofa or armchair with their baby at least once, and 43% said they had moved their newborns out of their bedrooms and into their own rooms before they were six months old, in order for everyone to get more sleep.
The Lullaby Trust is dedicated to providing every parent with the latest expert advice on how to reduce the risk of sudden infant death, helping to alleviate their fears so they can enjoy time spent with their new babies.
The charity’s research has shown that there is a 50-fold increase in the risk of babies dying suddenly and unexpectedly if a baby sleeps together with an adult on a sofa or an armchair. Likewise, the risk for a baby under six months old is increased if they sleep in their own bedroom as room sharing with their parents is shown to be protective.
Women were also asked where they put their babies to sleep during the day and the survey showed that they were slept in a variety of places including car seats, bouncers, reclining chairs, baby swings and bean bags - against the Lullaby Trust’s advice that they should be in a cot or Moses basket with a firm, flat mattress.
Fortunately, 83% of respondents were mindful that sleeping babies on their backs was protective.
Francine Bates, The Lullaby Trust’s Chief Executive, said: “Five babies die suddenly every week in England and Wales, with no cause found for their death and their families left shocked and distraught.
“Although we haven’t yet identified a single cause for sudden infant death, we do know that there are lots of practical things parents can do to reduce their baby’s risk.
“The Lullaby Trust has pledged to halve the rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by 2020. If we are to achieve this we need to reach many more parents with the core piece of advice that the safest place of all for a baby to sleep is on their back, in a cot in a room with their parents, both for daytime naps and night-time sleep. If we can encourage every parent to follow this crucial recommendation we can save even more lives.
“From next month, a new Sleep Safety guide, kindly sponsored by our partners The Gro Company, will be included in Bounty packs which are handed to all parents of new-born babies in maternity units. This is a vital step to increase awareness, change behaviour and prevent further tragedies.”
Lisa Penney, Spokesperson at Bounty, said: “Whilst it’s positive that the vast majority of new mums understand that babies should be put to sleep on their backs, the responses show that there is still a lot to do to ensure their greatest fear never becomes a tragic reality.
“One of the biggest challenges is to ensure that parents know exactly what they can do to reduce the risk. The new Sleep Safety guide included in Bounty packs will ensure that parents are informed right from the start of every baby’s life”
Head over to the Lullaby Trust website to learn more about preventing cot death, and do your bit to fund raise for the charity!