Sunday, July 14, 2024

MP Stephen Metcalfe calls for increased awareness of risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Stephen Metcalfe MP calls for increased awareness of risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

STEPHEN Metcalfe, Member of Parliament for South Basildon & East Thurrock, has joined baby charity The Lullaby Trust in urging local authorities to ensure health professionals in the East of England receive the training and support they need to deliver safer sleep messages to all families.

The call comes as part of Safer Sleep Week, the charity’s national campaign to raise awareness of SIDS (often referred to as cot death) and the lifesaving advice that parents can follow to reduce the risk of it occurring.

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, while the overall SIDS rates for England and Wales showed a 17% decline since 2013 and a 39% overall decline since 2004, the rates in The East of England have decreased more slowly showing only a 3% reduction since 2004 and remaining higher than the national average.

Adding to this worrying picture is a national survey commissioned by charity The Lullaby Trust, which found that over 39% of parents in the East of England are unsure of one of the most fundamental steps to reduce the risk of SIDS: sleeping a baby on its back for every sleep.

Evidence shows that babies who are slept on their back for every sleep are 6 times less likely to die from SIDS than those who sleep on their front or side.

Sleeping babies on their front was commonplace until the national “Back to Sleep” campaign in 1991. This campaign along with continued awareness raising of SIDS and safer sleep, by The Lullaby Trust, over the 25 years since, has led to a widespread change in how parents sleep their babies. As a result SIDS rates in the UK have reduced by 85% since 1991. However, the rates could still be much lower and research has shown that if all parents followed safer sleep advice, the lives of many more babies could be saved.

The survey shows 35% of parents in the East of England are unsure whether they can sleep a baby on their front and 39% are unsure whether to sleep a baby on their side. The results are a troubling indication that parents are still not equipped with the information they need to reduce the risk of SIDS and that more needs to be done to ensure all parents in the East of England are aware of life saving safer sleep advice.

Mr Metcalfe said:

‘I am pleased to support The Lullaby Trust’s Safe Sleep Week campaign which aims to raise awareness of SIDS and help new parents receive the proper advice from health professionals on how to sleep their baby safely.

‘While recognising the important role of health professionals and family workers who provide this advice to new parents, we must ensure they are given the training and support to continue their vital work.’

Francine Bates, Chief Executive of The Lullaby Trust, whose aim is to halve the number of babies who die from SIDS to below 150, said:

‘The results of this survey suggest that although we’ve come a long way in reducing SIDS rates, more needs to be done to ensure that all parents and carers in the East of England know the basics of safer sleep.

‘The Lullaby Trust provides training for around 3,500 health care professionals each year and calls on local authorities to ensure that safer sleep messages consistently reach all families, helping to prevent avoidable deaths now and in the future.’


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