Safer Sleep for Babies
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden and unexplained death of a baby where no cause is found. Sadly, around four babies a week still die from SIDS. Since 2017 in Rochdale, safe sleep has been identified as a key theme in two Serious Case Reviews and one Health Review. If everyone who cares for a baby knows about safer sleep advice many lives could be saved.
The advice should be followed for all sleep periods where possible, not just at night.
Things parents and carers can do:
- Keep baby smoke free during pregnancy and after birth
- Always place baby on their back to sleep
- The safest place for a baby to sleep is in their own sleep space. Place baby to sleep in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as baby’s carer for the first six months
- Use a firm, flat waterproof mattress in good condition
- Breastfeed baby, if possible
Things to avoid:
- Never leave a baby to sleep on a sofa or in an armchair (with or without another person)
- Avoid letting baby get too hot. (The ideal room temperature for a baby is between 16-20 degrees centigrade.)
- Avoid risk of baby’s face or head becoming covered while sleeping; do not use loose bedding
- Avoid pillows, cushions or beanbags
- Avoid placing cuddly toys in cot/moses basket
- Avoid sleeping in a car seat
More information for parents and carers:
The Lullaby Trust is a national charity that raises awareness of SIDS, provides expert advice on safer sleep for babies and offers emotional support for bereaved families.
Safer Sleep online course
Safer sleep for babies: a guide for parents
Safer sleep product guide
Safer sleep for babies’ quick reference card
Safer sleep easy read card
The Lullaby Trust: safer sleep dos and don'ts Video
The Lullaby Trust: co-sleeping video
To download other free resources and translations of the easy read card, visit
RBSCP room thermometer:
Working with partner organisations from the safeguarding children partnership, local community midwives and health visitors are distributing thermometers to expectant mums throughout the borough. The thermometers (with safer sleep messages on the reverse) help parents with a baby to identify if the room is too warm, too cold or the right temperature for the new baby. Contact your community midwife or health visitor for details.
Coronavirus and caring for baby:
To access The Lullaby Trust‘s FAQs advice sheet click here.
More information for professionals:
It is essential that professionals when working with families ensure that parents understand about safer sleep messages; it is everyone’s responsibility. Research does show that giving clear and consistent messages to families does help parents to understand their safer sleep parenting choices better. Risk is high up to six months so should be reviewed at all contacts up to that time with families not just in the early days following birth.
Rochdale Safe sleep multi-agency guidance
Rochdale Safe sleep risk assessment tool
7 MB Safer sleep for babies
Safer sleep: saving babies lives a guide for professionals
Sofa sharing poster
UNICEF Caring for your baby at night – a guide for professionals
UNICEF Co-Sleeping and SIDS – a guide for health professionals
Coronavirus outbreak: supporting families:
The Lullaby Trust have produced some new free safer sleep presentations to support staff who are working with families during the pandemic. These presentations can be used both by professionals as a refresher on the current advice and shared with families and carers. Click here for the free safer sleep presentations currently available.