LOCAL MP VICTORIA PRENTIS CALLS FOR INCREASED AWARENESS OF RISK OF SUDDEN INFANT DEATH SYNDROME

North Oxfordshire MP and Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss, Victoria Prentis, has joined The Lullaby Trust in urging local authorities to ensure health professionals in the South East 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.

The national survey commissioned by charity The Lullaby Trust, found that 61% of parents in the South East are unsure of one of the most fundamental steps to reduce the risk of SIDS: ensuring a baby sleeps on its back. Evidence shows that babies who are on their back for every sleep are 6 times less likely to die from SIDS than those who sleep on their front or side.

The survey shows 36% of South Eastern parents are unsure whether they can sleep a baby on their front and a staggering 61% are unsure whether to sleep a baby on their side.

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, while the overall SIDS rates in 2014 for England and Wales showed a 17% decline since 2013 and a 39% overall decline since 2004, the rate in the South East has fallen by an impressive 45% since 2004 and is lower than the national average.

Victoria Prentis said: “While considerable progress has been made over recent years, more can and should be done. Health professionals and family workers play an important role in providing advice to new parents on how their baby should sleep safely. It is essential that they receive the training and support to continue this 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 South East 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.”