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Efforts to tackle big rise in levels of infant deaths

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: August 08, 2014

By Rob Smyth

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A RENEWED effort is set to begin to tackle sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in Burton.

This comes ahead of a new report by the Office for National Statistics which will show that East Staffordshire SIDS rates are among the highest in the UK.

The rate was 0.41 per 1,000, higher than the average for England and Wales of 0.34.

New statistics show that eight per cent of infant deaths in the area are attributed to SIDS every year in the area.

The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Safeguarding Children Boards works to highlight the increased risk of SIDS associated with sleeping when a parent has drunk alcohol, smoked cigarettes or taken drugs.

It runs an ongoing campaign that asks parents not to share a bed with their baby if they feel there might be a risk of their youngster falling victim to 'cot death'

Jackie Carnell, independent chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Safeguarding Children Boards, spoke to the Mail.

She said: "This is a hard hitting campaign with a vital message.

"We now know so much about how babies can be kept safe while they sleep. It's important that parents and extended family members learn lessons from this campaign so we can reduce the risks of deaths in the future.

"Deaths in circumstances like this are tragic and almost impossible for people to deal with.

"I hope the message from this campaign is well received and understood so we can improve the safety for lots of sleeping babies."

The campaign also warns parents to never sleep with their baby on a sofa or armchair.

The risk also increases if the baby was premature or had a low birth weight.

The campaign highlights that the safest place for a baby to sleep for the first six months of their life is on their back, in a separate cot in the same room as their parents.

Posters and flyers will be displayed and distributed throughout the town.

The information will be distributed to maternity wards, used by health visitors and included in information packs given to new mums.

More information is available by visiting www.staffsscb.org.uk

Specialist help is also available by getting in touch with the Lullaby Trust by heading online to www.lullabytrust.org.uk/

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