Safer Sleep for Babies


Co-Sleeping Risks

While there is a decreasing trend nationally, there has been a marked rise in the number of Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths in recent years in Southend, Essex and Thurrock.

No evidence has been identified to suggest a particular cause for the recent rise but there are certain co-sleeping risk factors, including: 

  • co-sleeping with a regular smoker 
  • co-sleeping on a sofa
  • co-sleeping after consuming alcohol or drugs
  • If the baby was born prematurely or had low birth weight
Video Guide: Safer Sleep
Do's and Don'ts of Safer Sleep

Reducing the risk

It is not yet known how to completely prevent sudden infant deaths (sometimes called cot death) but you can significantly reduce the risk by following this advice while your baby is asleep:

  Always place your baby on their back to sleep, with their feet at the foot of the cot

  Place your baby to sleep in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first 6 months, even during the day

  Keep your baby smoke free during pregnancy and after birth.  For help and advice contact 

  Use a firm, flat, waterproof mattress that is clean and in good condition, or a baby sleep bag of the correct size for the weight of your baby

  Never sleep on a sofa or in an armchair with your baby 

 Don’t cover your baby’s face or head while sleeping or use loose bedding

  Don’t sleep in the same bed as your baby if you smoke, drink, take drugs or if your baby was born prematurely or was of low birth weight

  Avoid letting your baby get too hot

You should follow the advice at all sleep times, not just at night.

Further Advice & Support

If you are a parent or carer of a young child, or know someone who is, you can get support and advice from your midwife or health visitor, so do speak to them if you have any questions, whether about safer sleep or other things like, getting help to give up smoking or advice on settling your baby and getting rest.

There are also tools and information available online - take a look at the resources below. 

You can also contact the organisations below for more advice and support.


Find out about their baby-friendly initiative to promote & support breastfeeding & close, loving parent-infant relationships. 


    Call: 0808 802 6869

Safer sleep advice, bereavement support and awareness raising.


Easy Read Card by the Southend, Essex & Thurrock Safeguarding Children Boards with The Lullaby Trust.

Safer Sleep – a guide for parents

Are cardboard baby boxes safe for sleeping babies? - The Lullaby Trust advice for parents

Baby check – is your baby really ill?

The ABCs of Safer Sleep (poster 1)

The ABCs of Safer Sleep (poster 2)

Sofa Sharing poster

8 Top tips for keeping your sleeping baby safe by the Safeguarding Children e-academy

Unicef Baby Friendly Publications

The Lullaby Trust has worked with Unicef in the wording on publications to support families and professionals with the challenge of addressing co-sleeping given the association with SIDS. You might be interested in reading the Unicef Baby Friendly publication, which IS endorsed by The Lullaby Trust:

Unicef leaflet: Caring for your baby at night - getting some rest, night feeding, safe sleeping environments and helping a baby settle


Infant Sleep App

Information from the the Infant Sleep Information Source, including normal sleep development, sleep location and sleep safety

Johnsons Baby Bedtime Baby Sleep App

Track your baby’s sleep habits and for advice to help improve your baby’s sleep

Baby Buddy 

Guides you through the first six months of your baby’s life to help you give your baby the best start in life and support your health and wellbeing

My Baby Today

Get daily parenting guidance throughout your baby's first year