Government health advisors have emphasised the dangers of parents sharing a bed with their baby in an effect to reduce the number of children dying from cot death syndrome (SIDS)
New guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have been issued, stating that midwives, GPs and health visitors must tell parents about the risks of co-sleeping or falling asleep with their baby and how it could increase the risk of SIDS – which causes 300 deaths a year in the UK.
The new guidelines state that advice about co-sleeping must be given to all parents with a child under the age of one.
‘Falling asleep with a baby, whether that’s in a bed or on a sofa or chair, is risky,’ Mark Baker, NICE’s clinical practise director professor, told Mail Online. ‘It’s imperative that all parents and carers know about the association between SIDS and falling asleep with a child under the age of one.
The new guidelines state that advice about co-sleeping must be given to all parents with a child under the age of one
‘This is especially important if parents drink alcohol, take drugs or expose their baby to tobacco smoke.’
NICE recognises that co-sleeping is simply easier for a number of parents, but repeats that it isn’t the safest method of sleeping for a baby.
‘We recognise that some parents may choose to share a bed with their baby because it could make breastfeeding easier, or for cultural reasons. Or they may be forced to co-sleep because they may not have the space or money for a cot,’ states Mark.
‘This is why it’s so important for parents to understand what the risks are. The recommendations we are developing aim to help healthcare professionals inform parents and carers of the likely risks associated with co-sleeping, according to the best available evidence.’
These new guidelines have been welcomed by sleep safety charity Lullaby Trust, which advises that it’s safest for your baby to sleep in a separate cot in your bedroom for the first six months.
If you have any concerns about your baby’s sleep safety, have a read of everything you need to know.
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