I’m a pediatrician and this is what you should never do if you sleep with your baby
A leading pediatrician has shared a guide to safer co-sleeping with babies, after it was revealed that nine in 10 parents had co-sleeped at some point.
Dr Steve Turner, Consultant Pediatrician at Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, appeared on woman hour on BBC Radio 4 this week to discuss NHS guidance on co-sleeping, which carries a higher risk of cot death.
According to the NHS, around 200 babies die suddenly and unexpectedly each year. About half of the babies who die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDs) are sleeping together at the time of death.
Experts have called for an increase in safety advice after research revealed how common it is for parents to sleep in the same bed as their babies.
Nine in 10 parents surveyed said they had slept next to their baby, but only four in 10 said they had been advised by a healthcare professional on how to reduce the risk of Sids, also known as cot death.
Speaking on the Woman’s Hour, consultant pediatrician Dr Steve Turner offered advice on co-sleeping to reduce the risk of cot death after it was revealed that nine in ten parents surveyed by the charity Lullaby Trust said they had slept with their baby, despite the increased risk. of crib death
NHS GUIDANCE ON SAFER SLEEPING
- Make sure babies sleep on a firm, flat mattress
- Lie on their backs
- Do not have pillows or duvets near them.
- Do not have other children or pets in the bed at the same time.
- Never sleep with a baby on a sofa or armchair
The survey, carried out for the charity Lullaby Trust, found that more than 40 per cent of parents admitted that they had fallen asleep with their baby in a potentially dangerous way, such as on a sofa or in an armchair, which can increase the Sids risk up to 50 times.
Dr Turner spoke alongside Lullaby Trust chief executive Jenny Ward, who said that while in the past people had assumed the message was “never sleep together”, she said that based on the survey results, It’s clear that many parents end up sharing their bed with their babies at one point or another.
Pediatrician Dr. Turner said there are things parents who co-sleep their babies can do to reduce the risk of SIDS, with one of the main tips being to avoid co-sleeping on sofas and chairs.
She told the show that there were two scenarios in which parents should think carefully about not sharing their bed with a baby younger than six months.
She explained that drugs, alcohol or medications that make parents sleepy instantly increase the risk of co-sleeping: “If you have a very young baby, having more than two units of alcohol or taking recreational drugs is certainly not good for the parents, and certainly not good for the baby.’
Only four in 10 parents said a health professional gave them advice on how to reduce the risk of cot death, according to a survey by the Lullaby Trust. Stock Image
Speaking to Woman’s Hour presenter Nuala McGovern, Dr Turner said the temptation to create a fence of pillows around your baby when she sleeps in her bed could be dangerous, and young children should be discouraged from “entering stealthily” at night.
Other parents shared their own experiences of co-sleeping with their babies and said the advice had often been inconsistent for parents.
The consultant said many parents were tempted to create ‘a pillow fence’ around their baby in bed, but said that could also be dangerous because the fence could collapse and ‘become a roof’.
Dr. Turner added that parents should watch out for older toddlers “crawling” in bed at night, which could change sleeping arrangements.
Babies should, he said, lie on their backs, and ideally the mattress should be firm and the bed large.
In response to the Woman’s Hour clip, other parents shared their own experiences of co-sleeping with their babies, saying the advice had often been inconsistent for parents.
One parent wrote: ‘THIS! I slept a lot with my daughter who needed me, and when trying to research how to do this as safely as possible, it was incredibly difficult to find how to do it safely, as the message was always “don’t do it.” ‘.’