Findings by researchers from Bristol University published in the British Medical Journal, confirm that “the safest place for a baby to sleep is in its own cot.”
This four-year study*, funded by The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID), found that in half of all unexpected deaths of children in the South West of England, babies had died sleeping with a parent or carer.
However, it is worrying that results of a separate survey published in the latest edition of Community Practitioner reveal that a quarter of mums were not persuaded that bedsharing can increase the risk of cot death.
This survey of infant care practices in the UK**, carried out by Ipsos MORI for FSID, questioned 506 mothers of children aged from six months to three years.
Results also showed a high degree of disbelief in other key ‘Reduce the Risk’ messages***.
FSID’s director, Joyce Epstein, said: “Since 2000 FSID and the Department of Health have been advising parents to sleep their babies in a separate cot in a room with them, and we are pleased that the most up-to-date research confirms that this advice is correct.
“But the survey results are alarming. We know that those at greatest risk of experiencing a cot death are very young mums, often single, and still in their teens, and this group is the most likely to reject safe sleep advice.”
In order to protect the most vulnerable babies, FSID has launched a new and innovative way to reach teenage parents: www.bubbalicious.co.uk, a baby-care focussed, social networking site for both mums and dads under 20.
Latest figures show that mums under 20 are over four times more likely to have a baby die as a cot death than older mothers*.
The new site, www.bubbalicious.co.uk, offers support and safe sleep tips for both mums and young dads.
Users can chat, win prizes, upload 50 photos and take part in a four-level baby-care challenge. If successful, they are awarded the title of Top Dad or Big Sister which allows them to give advice to other parents on the site.
FSID’s director, Joyce Epstein, said: “Sadly, the latest research shows that teenage mums have the highest rate of cot death, but we think that many are missing out on safe sleep advice.
“We developed bubbalicious after consulting with young parents across the country, and we really hope that the support available on the site will help improve the life chances of the UK’s most vulnerable babies.”
For more information, visit the website: fsid.org.uk/