Safer sleeping advice for parents at Christmas

safer sleep

Ahead of the Christmas holidays, the Public Health Agency (PHA) is reminding parents and guardians of young babies of the importance of following safer sleep advice to reduce the risk of sudden infant death.

At this time of year, with festivities and celebrations, the normal routines and sleeping arrangements for young babies may be changed. 

Emily Roberts, Designated Nurse for Safeguarding Children at the PHA, said: “It is really important to keep your baby’s sleep environment safe throughout the festive period when there may be a higher chance of parents being more tired and normal routines being disrupted.”

Please remember:

  • Never sleep on an armchair or sofa with your baby. This is particularly risky.
  • Never ever allow anyone who has been smoking, drinking or taking drugs (including medication) or is feeling overly tried to co-sleep with your baby.

Emily continued: “Remember, the safest place for your baby to sleep is in their own cot or moses basket in your room for the first six months. Place your baby on their back with feet touching the bottom of the cot.

“Also make sure that your baby does not get too hot as they cannot yet regulate their body’s temperature. Keep an eye on the temperature in their room and adjust bedding/ sleepwear accordingly as there is a higher risk of sudden infant death in babies who are over-heated.

“It is normal for your baby’s hands and feet to feel slighter cooler than the rest of their body. If you think they are too hot or cold check their temperature by feeling the back of their neck – don’t be tempted to increase the heating in your home or bring them into bed with you to make them warmer.

“A room temperature of 16-20°C – with light bedding or a lightweight, well-fitting baby sleeping bag fitted with neck and armholes, and no hood – is comfortable and safe for sleeping babies. Never put pillows, loose blankets, cot bumpers or sleep positioners in your baby’s cot.

“By following these steps as part of a sleep-time routine they’ll become second nature and help reduce the risk of sudden infant death.

“If you have any questions, no matter how small or trivial you might think they are, talk to your health visitor who can provide practical advice.”

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