Parents admit to unsafe sleep habits
Survey reveals that tired parents are not following safe sleep guidelines
This week marks #SaferSleepWeek and in order to help The Lullaby Trust charity raise awareness, Bounty has produced a new pack design with the charity’s ABCs of sleep safety advice. Additionally, over 7,000 Bounty mums took part in a safer sleep survey with surprising results.
Worryingly, the survey showed that 46% of new parents admitted putting their baby in an unsafe sleeping environment in order to get them to sleep for longer. Actions which could greatly increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), also known as cot death included unsafe co-sleeping, such as a parent co-sleeping with their baby on their chest or on a sofa or armchair which can increase the risk of SIDS by up to 50 times.
Concerningly the survey of Bounty mums also found a third of parents also admitted to putting their baby down on their front or side to sleep. Importantly, sleeping a baby on their back for every sleep is one of the most protective actions that can be taken to reduce the risk of SIDS. Since this came into public awareness in 1992 with the Back to Sleep campaign, the rate of SIDS deaths dropped by 82%.
Although many mums know what safer sleep advice says, tiredness and difficulty settling their baby were the main reasons they gave for not following safer sleep guidelines.
Interestingly, it seems that parents’ unrealistic expectations about how long their baby should sleep for are part of the problem, with 44% of parents stating that they thought their baby should be sleeping for longer than they do in reality. However, it is in fact completely normal and very common for babies to wake during the night until they are at least 12 months old.
Unrealistic expectations surrounding baby sleep can lead parents to believe they are doing something wrong if their baby wakes often during the night. The false idea that babies can and should be sleeping through the night is promoted by the baby industry through advice on how to achieve this and products marketed with the claim they will make babies sleep for longer.
For tired parents, anything that helps them get more sleep may sound like a good idea, but encouraging a baby to sleep more deeply or for longer than is usual for them can put them at an increased risk SIDS.
In order to ensure that as many new parents as possible have access to life-saving safer sleep advice Bounty has partnered with The Lullaby Trust to launch a new Bounty Newborn pack featuring the charity’s ABCs of sleep safety advice.
The advice; ALWAYS sleep your baby on their BACK in a CLEAR cot or sleep space will take up prominent position on the outside of every one of the 600k free Bounty sample packs given to new parents in maternity wards each year across the UK.
Jenny Ward, CEO of The Lullaby Trust says: "At the Lullaby Trust, we know from talking to parents and health professionals that parental tiredness is the greatest barrier to consistently following safer sleep practices. Sleep deprivation can be overwhelming, and it can be tempting for parents to do whatever it takes to get their baby to settle.
"However, we’d like to reassure parents that waking up during the night is completely normal for young babies, and that they shouldn’t feel pressure to try and get their baby to sleep for longer. In order to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the priority needs to be on safer sleep instead of longer sleep. This may be difficult for exhausted parents, but it is vitally important that safer sleep is followed for all sleeps, day and night."
For more information on safer sleep visit The Lullaby Trust.