Sweet – and safe – dreams for Black Country babies

13th Mar 2023

Midwives, maternity support workers and neonatal nurses are supporting a national campaign to reduce the number of baby deaths in the Black Country where unsafe sleeping habits have been identified.

The Black Country Local Maternity and Neonatal System (LMNS) is highlighting the Lullaby Trust’s Safer Sleep Week (13-19 March), after it was found that unsafe sleeping was a contributory factor in 76 out of 124 baby deaths since April last year.

The data, from The Black Country Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP) reported that while a small number of these cases were directly due to unsafe sleeping practices, this week was an opportunity to raise awareness of the increased number of cases that had modifiable factors.

These included substance misuse, overcrowding, smoking in the household or drinking alcohol. The risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) increases where one or more of these factors have been identified alongside unsafe sleeping practices.

Yet simple change can reduce the risk of this.

The safest place for a baby to sleep is in a clear, flat, separate sleep space. Many parents co-sleep with their baby at least some of the time and some have accidentally fallen asleep in bed with their baby. 

Sally Roberts, LMNS Senior Responsible Officer and Chief Nursing Officer, said: “This is such an important campaign from the Lullaby Trust and one that it is vital for all healthcare professionals and parents to take note of.

“Having a new baby is absolutely wonderful and the most precious time. Losing a baby is devastating and the grief never goes away. Being a new parent is exhausting and it is, of course, easy to see that sometimes a parent may doze off while holding baby or in bed with baby. Sadly, this is where tragedy can strike.

“The LMNS is supporting Safer Sleep Week by ensuring it shares safer sleeping messages and continues to work with Black Country colleagues and parents to drive these home.”


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