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Durham University

Research & business

How to keep sleeping babies safe

(11 March 2019)

How best to keep babies safe when they’re asleep has been a focus of research by our specialists for more than 20 years.

Working together with other organisations, our Durham Infancy & Sleep Centre has helped to reduce rates of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by giving health professionals and parents informed guidance.

Guidance for new parents

Now, our researchers have teamed up with the Lullaby Trust, Public Health England and Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative to ensure more parents than ever before are given safer sleep information from the moment their baby is born.

They want all new mums and dads to know what they can do to keep their babies safe when they’re asleep so that risks of SIDS can be reduced.

The organisations have come together in light of a recent rise in the number of deaths from SIDS.

Safer bed-sharing

For the first time, the safer sleep information recognises that parents will sometimes sleep with their babies in the same bed and gives some key guidance for safer bed-sharing.

The information will be a new addition to the Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative, an accreditation programme for hospitals and other health services for children and babies. The majority of maternity units and health visiting services across the UK are already working towards the accreditation.

Let’s talk about sleep

The partnership has also put together a guide for health professionals, such as midwives and health visitors, to help them talk to parents about safe sleep arrangements for their baby.

The guide stresses the importance of having open and non-judgemental conversations with parents, including about bed-sharing.

The guidance will be available on Durham’s Baby Sleep Info Source (Basis) – an online resource with information about infant sleep, based on thorough research.

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