Written by Editorial Team, DonateToday

41% of parents have bought or are planning to buy products for their children that do not conform to safer sleep advice says The Lullaby Trust

Some baby sleep nests or pods that do not conform with safer sleep advice are popular in the UK today

 UK charity, The Lullaby Trust, has warned that some popular sleeping products for babies do not conform to safer sleep guidelines.

Cushioned sleeping pods, nests, baby hammocks, cot bumpers, pillows, duvets and anything that wedges or straps a baby in place can pose a risk to children under 12 months – there is evidence to show that sleeping a baby on anything but a firm, flat surface can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Using soft, heavy bedding also poses the risk of SIDS, as this can lead to overheating or potentially obstruct a baby’s airway if they roll or their face becomes covered by loose bedding. 

However, many of these products are created by trusted brands, can be found in well-known stores, and products from a number of manufacturers carry inaccurate claims regarding their safety. In addition, as there are no safety standards relating to SIDS, parents may find it difficult to know which products are safe for their baby. 

The Lullaby Trust recently conducted a survey to gauge parents’ feelings about, and knowledge of, the safety standards of their child’s products. Over 90% of respondents stated that compliance with safer sleep advice was a very important consideration when buying a product.

However, the survey also showed that 41% of parents have bought, or are planning to buy, a baby sleep nest or pod – these items go against the advice that babies should sleep on a firm, flat, waterproof surface. Sleeping a baby on a soft surface makes it harder to babies to lose body heat and maintain a safe temperature; this can increase the risk of SIDS. 

Today, Monday 12th March, marks the start of Safer Sleep Week and, to mark the occasion, The Lullaby Trust has issued the following guidance – supported by Public Health England – to help new and expectant parents choose the safest sleeping products for their child:

  • Check whether items comply with British Standards and follow safer sleep guidelines;
  • Avoid soft, heavy bedding, such as pillows and duvets;
  • Check that anything you buy for your baby to sleep on is firm, waterproof and entirely flat with no raised or cushioned areas.

‘Ensuring parents have the correct information to keep their baby safe is crucial,’ commented Professor Viv Bennet, Director, Nursing at Public Health England. ‘This resource will help parents when choosing equipment or products for their baby.

‘We would always encourage parents to discuss any concerns or queries with their midwife or health visitor, who can offer advice and signpost to information about safer sleeping.’

‘As a SIDS charity, we have watched with concern as products that go against safer sleep advice gain popularity,’ added Francine Bates, Chief Executive of The Lullaby Trust. ‘It is hard for parents when they are trying to choose from the overwhelming number of baby products on offer and many people make the reasonable assumption that, if an item is sold on the high street or made by a recognised brand, it is safe for their baby.

‘When choosing sleep items for a baby, there are actually just a few key essentials parents need and it isn’t necessary to spend a fortune on lots of products or choose more expensive brands.’