Some baby products ‘go against safer sleep advice’, cot death charity warns

March 13, 2018

A prominent charity has warned parents that many popular sleeping products designed for babies are not up to safer sleep specifications.

The Lullaby Trust, which supports bereaved families and raises awareness on sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), says items such as cushioned sleeping pods, nests, baby hammocks, cot bumpers, pillows, duvets and anything that wedges or straps a baby in place can pose a risk to babies under 12 months.

The charity said evidence showed that sleeping a baby on anything but a firm, flat surface, or using soft, heavy bedding, could increase the risk of SIDS.

They can lead to overheating or potentially obstruct a baby’s airway if they roll or their face becomes covered by loose bedding.

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Health in Surrey

Confusion around product safety was highlighted by a recent survey of new and expectant parents commissioned by The Lullaby Trust.

According to an article on Belfast Live, 91% of respondents stated compliance with safer sleep advice as a very important consideration when buying a product.

However, the same survey also showed 41% of parents had bought or were planning to buy a baby sleep nest or pod.

These items go against the advice that babies should sleep on a firm and entirely flat waterproof surface.

Sleeping a baby on a soft surface can increase the risk of SIDS as they make it harder for babies to lose body heat and maintain a safe temperature.

As part of Safer Sleep Week from March 12-18, The Lullaby Trust has issued guidance supported by Public Health England to help new and expectant parents make safer choices when deciding on sleeping products for their baby.

Francine Bates, chief executive of The Lullaby Trust, said: “As a SIDS charity, we have watched with concern as products that go against safer sleep advice gain popularity.

“It is hard for parents when they are trying to choose from the overwhelming number of baby products on offer and many people make the reasonable assumption that if an item is sold on the high street or made by a recognised brand, it is safe for their baby.”

(Image: Stock photo)

Ms Bates added: “When choosing sleep items for a baby there are actually just a few key essentials parents need and it isn’t necessary to spend a fortune on lots of products or choose more expensive brands.

“We have produced a product guide and accompanying resources to help parents feel confident in knowing what to look for when choosing sleep items for their baby.”

Professor Viv Bennett, director of nursing at Public Health England, said: “Ensuring parents have the correct information to keep their baby safe is crucial – this resource will help parents when choosing equipment or products for their baby.

“We would always encourage parents to discuss any concerns or queries with their midwife or health visitor who can offer advice and sign post to information about safer sleeping.”

The Lullaby Trust gives parents some key pieces of advice when choosing sleeping products:

  • Check whether items comply with British Standards and follow safer sleep guidelines
  • Avoid soft heavy bedding such as pillows and duvets
  • Check that anything you buy for your baby to sleep on is firm, waterproof and entirely flat with no raised or cushioned areas.

For more information on choosing baby sleep products or to download the product guide, visit the website here.

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