***Live web chat with The Lullaby Trust ***

As part of our week long SIDS awareness campaign, supporting the work of The Lullaby Trust, we will be hosting a live web chat with Jenny Ward, The Lullaby Trust's Head of Advice. This is your opportunity to ask Jenny about The Lullaby Trust's Safer Sleep Guidelines or any other aspect of SIDS.  Jenny will be answering your questions from 12 noon until 1pm today (Thursday 17 October).

Please feel free to add your questions below, ahead of the live chat.  If you would like to submit a question anonymously please e-mail me at [email protected] 

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  • There have been loads of questions recently on this so I hope people will make the most of the opportunity

  • It would be great if Jenny could try and explain why it is so important to share a room as opposed to relying in monitors etc as I think there's a lot of misunderstanding around this

  • I'm aware of the risks of smoking, I don't smoke but baby's grandparents do. They won't smoke near baby and will only smoke outside, but are there any increased risks if they are visiting?

  • I would like to know if there is an issue with cot/crib bumpers. I know it used to be that they weren't recommended but don't think that's the case any more, what's changed?

  • Am bouncing this, in case there are more questions ahead of tomorrow's live web chat.   Jenny is happy to answer questions on anything relating to SIDS and their Safe Sleep Guidelines, so ask away...

  • I'd like to know the significance of the magic 6 months for moving them. What changes after 6 months to reduce the risk?

  • I was under the impression that newborns shouldn't be put into growbags, but I have seen conflicting advice. Is it ok to use them from newborn?

  • I'd like to ask which of the pieces of safe sleep advice (same room, sleeping on back etc.) is considered to be the most important?

  • I'll be watching this with interest.

  • What age is a good age to take the side off of a toddler bed? and how do you know your child is ready? And is there and SIDS risks with taking the side off of a toddler bed?

  • I'd like to welcome Jenny Ward, Head of Advice at The Lullaby Trust, to The Mumdrum.  Thank you for taking the time to come and talk with us about SIDS and The Lullaby Trust's Safer Sleep Guidelines.  

    As there are questions waiting, I'll hand straight over to you Jenny...

  • workinghard

    It would be great if Jenny could try and explain why it is so important to share a room as opposed to relying in monitors etc as I think there's a lot of misunderstanding around this

    I can take a shot, workinghard! There is substantial evidence that when infants are placed in the same room as their parents, but they do not share the same sleep surface (i.e. room sharing, not bed sharing), a significant decrease in the risk of SIDS is seen. The jury is still out as to what exact mechanisms are at work here in the protective effect of room sharing. The most accepted theory is that you can check on your baby far more thoroughly in person than with monitors (for example, checking your baby’s temperature, not simply sound or movement), ensuring that they are sleeping safely at points during the nap or sleep.

  • MrsPenguin

    I'm aware of the risks of smoking, I don't smoke but baby's grandparents do. They won't smoke near baby and will only smoke outside, but are there any increased risks if they are visiting?

    Hi Mrs Penguin, you’re spot on in that keeping your baby as smoke free as possible is important for their health, and to reduce the chance of SIDS. The risk of occasional smoke exposure (such as from family visiting) is very small. There are things you can do to minimise the impact of nicotine on your baby, such as smoking outside (as you mentioned) and not holding the baby for some time after a cigarette. Changing clothes and washing hands would help, though to be honest we do not know enough about the effect of residual nicotine on skin and hair to be able to say what effect it would have on an infant. 

  • Thank you, I am here and working through the messages already posted but please feel free to post more everyone!

    Jenny

  • hi,  i think that we commonly hear people saying their relatives/previous children/neighbours children etc etc were fine going in their own room at say 2 weeks old and 'it never did them any harm', just wondering if there is there any evidence of family history causing SIDS or is it more individual factors that contribute to SIDS risk.  

    also (a cheeky other question lol), whats the guidance of sleeping in car seats and why should babies not be left in car seats for extended periods of time?

  • popcorn

    I would like to know if there is an issue with cot/crib bumpers. I know it used to be that they weren't recommended but don't think that's the case any more, what's changed?

    Thanks for your question, it is a common one on our helpline! Essentially, the research findings around the effect of cot bumpers on the chance of SIDS is inconsistent, so we don’t say they increase the chance but they don’t decrease the chance either.  They do, However, become an issue when your baby can move around, as there have been some cases where they are used as a step to get out of the cot and into trouble. So as soon as your baby gets more mobile they should be removed. So in short, they are up to you to choose but be aware of when to take them out if you do chose to use them.

  • Tweetie Pie

    I'd like to know the significance of the magic 6 months for moving them. What changes after 6 months to reduce the risk?

    Good question, Tweetie Pie! This all comes from the research which is really strong in this area. But one thing we don’t know is the ‘why’. It may be that it's to do with being able to sense when your baby isn't happy, but we really aren't sure, we just know it works!

    We know from research that the safest place for a baby to sleep, which lowers the chance of SIDS the most, is in a cot or moses basket in the same room as you, for the first six months. Aged 2 – 3 months is currently the peak risk period for SIDS, and the chance of it happening drops off significantly after the age of six months. We don’t know why this is, but the research is strong and it is for this reason we advise parents and carers to have their baby in their room for at least six months, though if you are happy sharing a room, there is no reason why not to continue this for longer. 

  • Sange!

    I was under the impression that newborns shouldn't be put into growbags, but I have seen conflicting advice. Is it ok to use them from newborn?

    Baby sleep bags are really popular and can be great at ensuring your baby does not wriggle underneath sheets and blankets. We know that having a baby’s head covered is something to be avoided. Look at the recommendations for the sleep bag you choose – I know Gro bags have a minimum weight for the baby and you should follow this advice, but check other brands and see their advice on the baby’s weight and when is safe to use them.  If your baby is not at this weight yet, consider other forms of bedding in the early weeks, while they grow. And always make sure you check your baby to make sure they are not getting too hot. 

  • Margot

    I'd like to ask which of the pieces of safe sleep advice (same room, sleeping on back etc.) is considered to be the most important?

    That is a really interesting question! To be fair, all of our advice is generated from significant findings about reducing the risk of SIDS in research and academic literature, so we really endorse parents and carers try to follow as much of it as possible. However, in terms of what has dropped the rate of SIDS the most significantly, it would be sleeping your baby on their back. Thanks to the ‘back to sleep’ campaign in the early 90s, the number of SIDS cases fell significantly; by up to 70%. Since then, numbers have continued to drop, though at a much slower rate. In recent years, The Lullaby Trust has placed more emphasis on reducing parental smoking, which is a significant risk factor to SIDS, and we have also encouraged parents to have their baby sleep in the same room. We also know that small and prem babies are vulnerable so we have worked to try and get the messages out to neonatal units in recent years as well. We could get lost in statistics but an important point is that the risk increases significantly with each piece of advice that isn't followed or vulnerability. This is why we work to make sure parents know all the advice.

    The other aspect you could consider is what poses the greatest chance of SIDS to an infant. Without taking into account the presence of numerous, compounded risk factors, the single most dangerous thing you can do, from the research, is to sleep on a sofa or armchair with your baby. Is that a surprise to everyone?

  • Thanks for all your answers so far Jenny.

    Not sure if you're still here, if so is there any evidence that the breathing sensor monitors (angel care etc) have reduced the number of cases of SIDS, do you/TLT recommend them?

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