Safer sleep for babies

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The Safer Sleep Campaign is back to raise awareness of key risk factors and safer sleep habits that can significantly reduce the risk of sudden unexpected deaths of infants (SUDIs).

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The 2017 campaign launched on 12 June to raise awareness among families with young children as well as the general public about the dangers of poor sleeping conditions and co-sleeping risks for young babies.

While there is a decreasing trend nationally, there was actually a marked rise in the number of SUDIs in recent years in Essex and Thurrock.

Risk factors

No evidence has been identified to suggest a particular cause for the recent increase but there are certain risk factors

  • Co-sleeping with a regular smoker
  • Co-sleeping on a sofa
  • Co-sleeping after consuming alcohol or drugs
  • Co-sleeping if baby was born prematurely or had low birth weight

What can parents do to ensure their baby is sleeping safely?

Safer sleep tips – this advice is for all sleep times, not just at night …


  • Always place your baby on their back to sleep, with their feet to the foot of the cot
  • Place your baby in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first 6 months
  • Use a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in good condition
  • Breastfeed your baby if you can
  • Keep your baby smoke free during pregnancy and after birth


  • Sleep on a sofa or in an armchair with your baby
  • Sleep in the same bed as your baby if you smoke, drink, take drugs, if your baby was born prematurely or was of low birth weight
  • Let your baby get too hot
  • Cover your baby’s face or head while sleeping or use loose bedding

Further information and advice