Skip to content ↓

Safer Sleep

Keeping babies safe

We want to keep children safe and pass on key information that allows everyone to understand and act early to prevent harm.

Pass it on

Recently, we've seen a rise in incidences of Abusive Head Trauma (AHT) and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) with babies in Devon and across the country.  We want to make sure that everyone is aware of the guidance, help and support to cope with a crying baby and ensure safer sleeping for infants.

ICON has been specifically designed to help parents and carers cope with crying baby, while The Lullaby Trust offer expert guidance on how to ensure safe sleeping for your baby.

Comforting crying babies

Did you know it’s completely normal for babies to cry A LOT?

Because their brains have yet to develop the circuits that allow for self-control and understanding, babies are hardwired to cry whenever they need a parent to help them out. And some babies might cry a lot, which may be distressing and stressful to parent/carers and child alike. But whatever happens, it is never okay to shake a baby. Remember: crying is completely normal, and there are ways you can cope.

ICON provides guidance on what to expect, how to cope and what you can do. ICON stands for:

I – Infant crying is normal

C – Comforting methods can help

O – It’s OK to walk away

N – Never, ever shake a baby


You can find out more information:

Safer infant sleeping

Did you know that that risk of sudden infant death syndrome is 50 times higher for babies when they co-sleep with an adult in particular on a sofa or armchair? This increases further when their parents are takings some forms medication or under the influence of alcohol.

Every year over 500 babies die suddenly and unexpectedly, and over half of those deaths remain unexplained. While it is not always known what causes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), we do know that there are some simple steps parents can take to reduce the risk of it happening.

The Lullaby Trust work hard to raise awareness of SIDS and aim to make sure that all parents receive up to date and scientifically-proven advice on how they can keep their baby as safe as possible.

You can find out more information about safe sleep on their website.

Safe sleeping practice 

Despite the overall decrease in the number of babies dying as a result of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infants (SUDI) , the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel continues to see a worrying number of cases. There has been a shift towards these tragedies happening mainly in families whose circumstances put them at risk of harm, not just of SUDI, but of several other adverse outcomes.

 Almost all of the cases of SUDI notified to the Panel involved parents co-sleeping with infants in unsafe sleep environments, often after consuming drugs and alcohol. In light of Covid-19, there is a worry that SUDI may increase due to the pressures of lockdown. Domestic violence, anxiety about money, unsuitable housing, substance and alcohol abuse, as well as disruption to normal routines may mean that more families are unable to engage effectively with safer sleeping advice.

Please consider both safe sleep practice and risk factors arising that may impact on this at every contact opportunity and specifically within any assessment/review of vulnerable families.

Supporting your and your baby’s sleeping

Sleeping can have a huge impact on your general wellbeing. Babies sleep routine can be challenging for new parents, and so it is important that they have considered strategies to support them with this. The Lullaby trust provides key information about safe sleeping and also covers the topic of co sleeping and how to undertake this as safely as possible.

Key messages

  • The safest place for your baby to sleep is in their crib in your bedroom.
  • You should always place your baby on their back to sleep and not on their front or side.
  • Sleeping your baby on their back (known as the supine position) every night is one of the most protective actions you can take to ensure your baby is sleeping as safely as possible.
  • There is substantial evidence from around the world to show that sleeping your baby on their back at the beginning of every sleep or nap (day and night) significantly reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).



Do Not Co-sleep with your baby if:

  • You or your partner smoke (even if not in bedroom)
  • You or your partner have had alcohol or are on any medication
  • You are extremely tired
  • Your baby was born prematurely (37 weeks or below)
  • Your baby was born weighing less that 2.5kg or 5 1/2lbs
  • You are on a sofa as this can increase the risk of SIDS by 50 times.

Co-sleeping guidance:

  • Babies should be slept in a clear sleep space, which is easy to create in a cot or Moses basket.
  • When choosing to co sleep
  • Keep pillows, sheets, blankets away from your baby or any other items that could obstruct your baby’s breathing or cause them to overheat.
  • Follow all of the Lullaby Trust safer sleep advice to reduce the risk of SIDS such as sleeping baby on their back.
  • Avoid letting pets or other children in the bed
  • Make sure baby won’t fall out of bed or get trapped between the mattress and the wall.