Cot death fear as 90 per cent say they sleep with their baby while experts call for a step up in safety advice
- Only four in ten said they have been advised on how to reduce risk of cot death
- Co-sleeping increases risk of sudden infant death syndrome by up to 50 times
Experts are calling for a step up in safety advice after research revealed how common it is for parents to sleep in the same bed as their babies.
Nine in ten parents polled said they have slept alongside their baby – known as co-sleeping – but only four in ten said they have been advised by a health professional on how to reduce the risk of cot death, also known as sudden infant death syndrome (Sids).
The survey found that more than 40 per cent of parents admitted they had fallen asleep with their baby in a potentially dangerous way, such as on a sofa or in an armchair, which can increase the risk of Sids by up to 50 times.
Results of the poll of 3,402 new parents for the charity Lullaby Trust, which raises awareness of Sids, came as academics said more needs to be done to spread knowledge of safe sleeping practices.
Only four in ten parents said they have been advised by a health professional on how to reduce the risk of cot death. File image
A report by experts, including academics from the University of Oxford, called for open conversations between parents and professionals – and looked in particular at how advice can be conveyed to deprived communities, where Sids deaths are higher.
The Lullaby Trust says that if parents co-sleep, they should keep pillows and adult bedding away from the baby plus any items that could cover their head or cause them to overheat.
Babies should sleep on their backs and other children or pets should not be brought into bed.
According to the NHS, around 200 babies die suddenly and unexpectedly each year. Around half of babies who die from Sids are co-sleeping at the time of death.