Dangers of co-sleeping with babies highlighted during child safety week

The dangers of co-sleeping with a baby are to be highlighted by Northumberland County Council and partners during National Child Safety Week.

Babies who sleep with others are at greater risk of suffocation, falling off the bed, having someone roll on top of them or dying of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

According to Department for Education data, co-sleeping has been linked to 665 baby deaths over the past five years.

Northumberland County Council will be raising awareness of the risks and educating young families on safe sleeping practices to alleviate the risk of these preventable deaths.
In the run up to Child Safety Week, local health workers visited a young parents group in Hexham to promote safe sleeping and to give tips to cope with crying babies.

The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) has said that around half of mothers share a bed with their baby at some point in the child’s first few months, with many doing so because of desperation or exhaustion.

Northumberland County Councillor, Veronica Jones, cabinet member for adult wellbeing and  health said:
“ We know that people right across the world co-sleep with their children. If women do choose to co-sleep there are precautions they can take that may minimise the risk to their baby. These include making sure bedding is not covering all of the baby’s head, avoiding the baby getting overheated and ensuring the baby cannot fall out of the bed or get trapped between the bed and a wall.
Parents should never co-sleep if they have been drinking alcohol, smoking, are obese, or taking drugs which can include medication. Also, they should never sleep on a sofa, or in an armchair with their baby.”
Yvonne Hush from Northumberland County Council’s public health team said:

“ Often  people don’t understand the danger they can put their children in when they don’t follow safe sleeping practices.  We are hoping to raise awareness and give parents a better understanding of their baby’s needs and avoid putting their health at unnecessary risk.”
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