Being a new dad is an amazing experience.
But it’s also exhausting. It’s something no-one can prepare you for. And at the end of a long day, there’s nothing more satisfying than to collapse on the sofa.
And that’s why we are supporting a national campaign to raise awareness of the importance of doing all you can to keep babies and small children safe.
More than 130 babies die in the UK every year as a result of unsafe sleeping.
Never sleep on a sofa or armchair with the baby. As comforting as it may feel, it can increase the risk of infant death by 50 times. Always lift the baby into a safe place while you sleep.
Lift the baby and move somewhere safer if you might fall asleep. Never sleep in the same bed as the baby if
- You have recently drunk any alcohol
- You or your partner smoke
- You have taken any drugs that make you feel sleepy or less aware
- Your baby was born prematurely or very small
In these scenarios, it is always best to put baby in their own safe sleep space such as a cot or a Moses basket. Keeping the cot or Moses basket next to the bed might make it easier to do this.
Give your baby a clear, safe sleep space, in the same room as you. For most babies a clear sleep space will mean a cot or a Moses basket. Whatever space you choose, it needs to be:
- A firm flat mattress with no raised or cushioned areas
- No pillows, quilts or duvets, bumpers
- No pods, nests or sleep positioners
- Make sure the baby’s head is kept uncovered so they don’t get too hot
Always place the baby on their back for sleep. Put the baby down on their back, not their front or their side, for every sleep.
- No special equipment or products are needed to keep them on their back
- Once they start to roll from front to back by themselves, you can leave them to find their own position for sleep
- Tummy time while awake can help to strengthen the muscles they need for rolling
However, some parents choose to share a bed with their baby. Here are some tips for safer bed sharing:
- Keep pets away from the bed and do not have other children sharing the bed
- Keep pillows and adult bedding away from the baby
- Make sure the baby won’t fall out of bed or get trapped between the mattress and the wall
Watch a short video produced by a range of NHS organisations.