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Rise in cases of sudden infant death syndrome prompts safe sleeping advice for parents

PUBLISHED: 15:16 11 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:34 11 March 2019

Parents are being given advice over safe sleeping for babies. Pic: Thinkstock.

Parents are being given advice over safe sleeping for babies. Pic: Thinkstock.

FamVeld

Parents in Norfolk are being offered expert advice on safe sleeping for babies after a rise in cases of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk County Council's director for public health. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLYDr Louise Smith, Norfolk County Council's director for public health. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

SIDS, formerly known as cot death, is the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a seemingly healthy baby less than a year old.

Latest figures for the East England show there was an 11pc rise in such cases in 2016, compared to the previous year, with 21 babies dying from SIDS.

Although the cause of SIDS is not fully understood, Norfolk County Council says there is extensive evidence demonstrating that the risk of SIDS can be significantly reduced by following safer sleeping guidance.

Dr Louise Smith, director of Norfolk County Council Public Health, said: “It is important for people to know that there are some circumstances in which sharing a bed with your baby can be very dangerous.

“Getting into sleep routines can be difficult when you have a new baby or are tired yourself.

“By following some simple advice, there are things you can do to keep your baby safe while they are sleeping.”

Avoiding pillows and duvets, sleeping babies on their backs and keeping other children and pets out of the bed are among the recommendations.

To coincide with Safer Sleep Week, the council is backing The Lullaby Trust’s national awareness campaign which focuses on these key messages:

• The safest place for your baby to sleep for the first six months is in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you, even during the day

• You should never share a bed with your baby if:

- Either you or your partner smokes (even if you do not smoke in the bedroom)

- Either you or your partner has drunk alcohol or taken drugs (including any medication that may make you drowsy)

- Your baby was premature (born before 37 weeks) or had a low birth-weight (less than 2.5 kg or 5½ lbs)

- You are particularly overtired

Margaret Dewsbury, chair of Norfolk County Council’s communities committee, said: “Safe sleep practices should be followed whether you’re at home, on holiday or staying with friends – a particularly important message as we approach the start of the holiday season.”

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