Helping the city's children start well during Safer Sleep Week

Making sure your baby has a firm, flat surface for every sleep, every where, every time are the key messages that Manchester is promoting to new mums, or anyone looking after a baby, during Safer Sleep week which runs from 9 - 15 March 2020.


The city is supporting the annual campaign by the Lullaby Trust which aims to raise awareness of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also commonly known as cot death. This year the focus is on surviving sleep deprivation and following the safer sleep advice consistently to help reduce the risk of SIDS occurring.

To help drive home the safe sleeping messages all new Manchester parents will get a Be Cot Safe Room thermometer, from a midwife before they leave hospital, which shows the ideal temperature of the room and advice on what to do to regulate the baby’s temperature, as well as handy tips as a guide on the back to ensure your baby sleeps safely every time.

Ethna Dillion, Lead for Early Help and Prevention, Manchester Local Care Organisation said: “The room thermometer has proved to be really popular with new parents and is a simple and effective way to help midwives and health visitors convey to new parents the need to create a safe sleep environment for their new baby.”

Gemma King, a Manchester Health Visitor  whose role is to promote information and advice about how babies can be safest when they sleep said: 
“Sudden Infant Death Syndrome doesn’t happen very often, but it does still happen, so we need to make sure that new mums, and their families, have got all the advice they need so that their baby is free from the risk of cot death or SIDS. 

And focussing on this year’s theme of managing the sleep deprivation that many parents feel with a new baby, she said:  “Having a baby is a really exhausting time but if you're feeling really tired and you have your baby with you, make sure, whether it’s day or night, that you always put your baby down into a cot or pram -  on a firm, flat surface as this is the safest sleeping position for them not an armchair or a couch.  And if other people are caring for your baby make sure that  they know that if they’re tired not to fall asleep with your baby in their arms as it can be quite dangerous.”
During safer sleep week specialist health visitors will travel around hospitals and children’s centres to promote all the advice around safe sleeping including the positives for breastfeeding as well as the risks associated with smoking while caring for your baby. 

Councillor Garry Bridges, executive member for Children and Schools said:  “We are really pleased to be working in partnership across the health system to ensure that our children from the minute they are born have the best start in life. Safer sleep week is a collaboration which shows joined up working to promote the safe sleep message to everyone, parents, grandparents, wider family and friends.  There are a number of drop in sessions taking place across the city to help spread the message. Ensuring that everyone who is involved with the care of your baby can make informed decisions about where to put your baby to sleep safely, massively reduces the risks. ”

For further information visit the Lullaby Trust on

SIDS is when a baby dies suddenly and unexpectedly and no cause of death is found.
SIDS has no known cause, although there are factors that are known to increase the risk of it occurring. There are also practices that are proven to reduce the risk
SIDS currently claims the lives of 200 babies every year in the UK.

Advice for parents: 

Be Cot Safe

Smoking in pregnancy or during the first 12 months after a baby is born increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death. Do not smoke.

Make sure your baby can breathe easily;
Always put your baby to sleep flat on their back,
On a firm, flat, clean waterproof mattress,
In a Moses basket, crib or cot
In the same room as carer/parent
For every sleep episode
Day and night for the first 6 months

Never leave your baby to sleep on a sofa, chair, bed or other unsuitable surfaces eg bed nests

Avoid your baby getting too hot 
Do not cover the baby’s head/face or use loose bedding/quilts 
Ideal room temperature 16-20 degrees centigrade

Babies who are unwell with a fever, above 38 degrees centigrade, need fewer bed clothes not more 

Breastfeed your baby if you can

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