Cot death warning over popular sleeping products

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A cot death charity has warned that some popular sleeping products could be putting babies at risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

The Lullaby Trust said items such as cushioned sleeping pods, nests, cot bumpers, pillows, duvets and anything that wedges a baby in place do not conform to safer sleep guidelines and can pose a risk to infants under 12 months.

Evidence shows that sleeping a baby on anything but a firm, flat surface, or using soft, heavy bedding, can increase the risk of SIDS.

Such items can lead to overheating or potentially obstruct a baby’s airway if they roll over, or their face becomes covered by loose bedding.

As there are no safety standards that relate to SIDS, it said it is very difficult for parents to know which products are safe for their baby.

Confusion around product safety was highlighted by a recent survey it commissioned, which found two out of five (41%) new parents have bought or are planning to buy a baby sleep nest or pod.

As part of Safer Sleep Week, the charity has issued guidance supported by Public Health England (PHE) to help new and expectant parents make safer choices when deciding on sleeping products for their baby.

The charity’s chief executive, Francine Bates, said: “As a SIDS charity, we have watched with concern as products that go against safer sleep advice gain popularity.

“It is hard for parents when they are trying to choose from the overwhelming number of baby products on offer and many people make the reasonable assumption that if an item is sold on the high street or made by a recognised brand it is safe for their baby.

“When choosing sleep items for a baby there are actually just a few key essentials parents need and it isn’t necessary to spend a fortune on lots of products or choose more expensive brands. We have produced a product guide and accompanying resources to help parents feel confident in knowing what to look for when choosing sleep items for their baby.”

Professor Viv Bennett, director of nursing at PHE, said: “Ensuring parents have the correct information to keep their baby safe is crucial, this resource will help parents when choosing equipment or products for their baby.

“We would always encourage parents to discuss any concerns or queries with their midwife or health visitor who can offer advice and signpost to information about safer sleeping.”

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