To be a mother
March 13, 2021
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The importance of mattresses this Safer Sleep Week

Last year, we distributed 142 mattresses for cots, cot beds and cribs, and a further 97 mattresses for Moses baskets at a cost of just under £5,000. Mattresses are one of the most popular items requested, but unlike the other items we offer families in need, the mattresses are all brand new.

According to The Lullaby Trust, research suggests that using a second-hand mattress might increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) very slightly. Why? There are still many unknowns and no definitive conclusions, although research conducted back in 2002 by a team at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow found that there may be a link between the bacteria in used mattresses and cot deaths.

Over 200 babies die every year from SIDS, once known as cot death, which is defined as the sudden, unexpected and unexplained death of an apparently healthy baby. Whilst SIDS is rare and the risk is low, it is important that all parents understand SIDS and the risk it poses as well as the myriad of potential contributing factors, which you can read more about here.

Safer Sleep Week

Every year, The Lullaby Trust runs Safer Sleep Week (15-21 March 2021). This campaign aims to reach as many families as possible to raise awareness of SIDS and equip parents with information about how they can reduce the risk. This year’s campaign focuses on dads, based on the fact that less than a third of dads are being given information on the basic steps they can take to lower the risk of SIDS.

According to an article on the Manchester Evening News:

“Babies are at greater risk of sudden death syndrome amid the pandemic, parents are warned.

As Safer Sleep Week gets under way, The Lullaby Trust charity says the risk is higher because of the number of dads who haven’t been shown safe sleep practices.

With many of them unable to attend antenatal appointments because of Covid restrictions, it’s left a lot of them in the dark over the dos and don’ts of safe sleep.

The survey of more than 500 new and expectant dads, found that less than a quarter of dads had been able to attend all antenatal appointments and more than 50% had not been allowed to attend any at all.”

Reducing the risk

Whilst it is important to recognise that much is still unknown about SIDS and it causes, there are several things you can do to reduce the risk:

  1. Place your baby on their back in a cot that is in the same room as you
  2. Place your baby with their feet at the end of the cot or the Moses basket
  3. Don’t smoke during pregnancy or whilst breastfeeding – and don’t let anyone smoke near your baby
  4. Do not share a bed with your baby if you have been smoking, drinking or using drugs
  5. As hard as it is, do not fall asleep cuddling your baby when on the sofa or in an armchair
  6. Be mindful of their temperature – don’t let them get too hold or cold
  7. Always keep their head uncovered

For more information about safe sleep for babies, please visit The Lullaby Trust, a charity dedicated to raising awareness of SIDS, providing expert advice on safer sleep for babies and offering emotional support for bereaved families. Visit here for a wealth of safe sleep advice.

And if you would like to make a donation to help us provide babies with new mattresses so they have a safe place to sleep, you can do so here.