Give babies space to sleep

Kensington based organisation Ngala has warned parents against following the advice of pro co-sleeping news articles circulating social media and news websites.

Ngala family services manager Melanie Marsh said some articles encouraged co-sleeping with infants as well as combining breastfeeding with infant sleep which could put children at risk of SIDS.

“The safest place to sleep a baby is in their own safe sleeping space in the same room as an adult caregiver,” she said.

“Research has shown that sharing a sleep surface, be that a bed, lounge chair, bean bag or on a parent’s chest can increase the risk of a sudden infant death occurring.”

Ms Marsh said Ngala followed the SIDS & Kids recommendations which were based on the consensus of a scientific forum attended by child health experts and researchers.

“In 1986 there were 563 SIDS deaths in Australia while in 2012 there were 115 infant deaths contributed to SIDS,” Ms Marsh said.

“An 80 per cent decrease in the rate of deaths means 8480 lives have been saved since risk reduction campaigns began.”

Ms Marsh said there were plenty of other ways for parents to bond and remain close to their babies without sleeping in the same bed.

“Babies respond to loving touch and skin-to-skin cuddles, which are both very valuable ways to connect,” she said.

“Eye contact, facial expressions, talking to your baby and body language all convey how you feel about your baby and builds a loving connection.

“Having baby sleep in the same room as the parents, on separate sleep surfaces, is recommended for at least the first 12 months. This assists with night time bonding and the ability to respond promptly to your baby.”

Ms Marsh said it was important for parents to learn to understand cues from their baby rather than relying on books or websites to provide advice.

Ngala has branches across Perth. Visit www.ngala.com.au or www.sidsandkids.org

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