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ADVICE - Sofa sleeping claims 25 babies' lives

sofa sleeping

New figures obtained by the cot death charity, the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID), reveal that in the last two years at least 25 babies in the UK have died while sleeping together with an adult on a sofa.

The figures, collected for the first time from some of the newly-established Child Death Overview Panels as well as the Metropolitan Police, confirm that parents are still choosing one of the most dangerous places in the home to sleep with their babies.

Previous studies have demonstrated that falling asleep with your infant on a sofa increases their risk of dying suddenly and unexpectedly by 50 fold.

FSID and the Department of Health’s advice for all parents remains that the safest place for a baby to sleep, for the first six months, is in a separate cot in a room with you.

FSID’s director, Joyce Epstein, said: “This information confirms that warnings about the dangers of sofa sharing with small babies have not changed parents’ practices, infants still sleep in risky environments.

More lives could be saved, if every parent, carer and grandparent recognised that while a sofa may be a comfortable place for them to sleep it’s the most dangerous place for a baby.”

Figures were obtained from Child Death Overview Panels covering 18 regions in England and the Metropolitan Police.

About the Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP)
The death of all children under the age of 18 must be reviewed by a CDOP on behalf of the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB). The CDOPs are professionals who meet several times a year to review all the child deaths in their area. The panel consists of representatives from public health, local child health and social care services and the police. The panels make recommendations and report on the lessons learned to the LSCB which then produces an annual report.

About FSID
The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths is the UK’s leading baby charity working to prevent sudden deaths and promote infant health. FSID funds research (nearly £10 million to date), supports bereaved families, promotes baby care advice, and works to improve investigations when a baby dies.

FSID has a freephone helpline for parents and professionals seeking advice on safe baby care 0808 802 6868 

The helpline also supports bereaved families.  Advice for parents and professionals can also be found at

 Advice for Parents to Reduce the Risk of Cot Death
• Cut smoking in pregnancy – fathers too! And don’t let anyone smoke in the same room as your baby.
• Place your baby on the back to sleep (and not on the front or side).
• Do not let your baby get too hot, and keep your baby’s head uncovered.
• Place your baby with their feet to the foot of the cot, to prevent them wriggling down under the covers.
• Never sleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair.
• The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a crib or cot in a room with you for the first six months.
• It’s especially dangerous for your baby to sleep in your bed
if you (or your partner):
• are a smoker, even if you never smoke in bed or at home
• have been drinking alcohol
• take medication or drugs that make you drowsy
• feel very tired;
or if your baby:
• was born before 37 weeks
• weighed less than 2.5kg or 5½ lbs at birth
• Don’t forget, accidents can happen: you might roll over in your sleep and suffocate your baby; or your baby could get caught between the wall and the bed, or could roll out of an adult bed and be injured.
• Settling your baby to sleep (day and night) with a dummy can reduce the risk of cot death, even if the dummy falls out while your baby is asleep.


27th June 2010, 17:38
Page updated 5th Oct 2015, 13:25
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