Today, all over the UK, washing lines with 15 babygros hanging from them will pop up all over the UK. At first glance, this washing line seems out of place at the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge or Edinburgh Castle, yet it’s here as a poignant visual reminder of the fact 15 babies die before, during or shortly after birth every day in the UK. That’s one in 150 births ending the death of a baby.
The washing line is here as a poignant visual reminder of the fact 15 babies die before, during or shortly after birth every day in the UK.
Whilst the number of deaths has fallen in recent years, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands believes now is no time to be complacent, and wants to use the washing line to provoke discussion.
Dr Clea Harmer, Chief Executive of Sands said: ‘The aim of #15babiesaday is to not only highlight the unacceptable fact that 15 babies die before, during and shortly after birth every day in the UK, but also to encourage the public to talk about baby death, which is often a taboo subject.’
The charity launched the #15babiesaday initiative as part of Sands Awareness Month. The charity aims to highlight their belief that here in the UK, the work to reduce the number of baby deaths is progressing ‘too slowly’. Sands believes ‘the rate of mortality varies hugely from region to region, reflecting a map of poverty and health inequality. This postcode lottery is unacceptable.’
Louise Silveton, Director of Midwifery at The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) supports the campaign, saying: ‘There are initiatives and training already being carried out across the UK to improve the rates of unavoidable baby deaths, but we need to ensure midwives have the time to do a thorough initial assessment of a woman, as well as ongoing risk assessments.
‘We also must ensure that there are enough bereavement midwives in place to ensure that parents and families get the support they need. Our hope is that all bereaved parents receive the same level of care and support regardless of where they live in the UK.’
What you can do to help
For further information on Sands Awareness Month and to find out how you can do your bit to support the #15babiesaday campaign, head to the Sands website.