Health staff in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have developed a new resource to help reduce the number of cot deaths.
Every year around 40 families across Scotland are devastated by a cot death.
In partnership with the Scottish Cot Death Trust, the resource was launched at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital campus today (Wednesday, 02 May).
Not only does the advice help minimise risks, it also provides information about support for families who have experienced a cot death as well as support for staff who have been involved in the child’s care.
Lesley Nish, senior health improvement officer, said: “It’s vitally important that conversations on how expectant and new families can minimise the risk of cot death start as soon as our staff have their first contact with families and continue after the baby is born.
“There is so much conflicting information out there and it’s difficult for families to know what is accurate and backed up by evidence. The Information Pathway is based on current available evidence which is important for staff raising a complex subject.
“It’s critical that people are aware of the risks associated with babies being exposed to second hand smoke. The only way to protect babies, children and other family members from the affects of second hand smoke is to keep their home and car smoke free. Families also need to understand that placing a baby on their back for every sleep is safer for the baby and protects their airway.”
Lynsay Allan, executive director, Scottish Cot Death Trust, said: “Prevention messages are a really important factor in reducing the number of sudden unexpected infant deaths.
"Empowering professionals who have contact with expectant and new families to have supportive, evidence based conversations about infant sleep gives them confidence to have more in-depth discussions which take into account individual family circumstances.
“We understand that handing out leaflets is not enough. It is important to talk about the 'why' behind the messages. Ensuring that professionals are all interpreting the messages in the same way and delivering the same messages is pivotal in any prevention work.
"To achieve this, professionals need to have a good understanding of risk factors associated with sudden unexpected death in infancy. Education sessions are being delivered as part of the launch of the Information Pathway and staff will be offered regular updates.
“The Scottish Cot Death Trust offers safe sleep education free of charge for professionals in Scotland. Reducing the incidence of cot death through education is one of the three charitable aims.
"The sudden unexpected death of a child is devastating for the family and has a lasting impact for professionals who knew the child and who support the family in their bereavement.
“The Scottish Cot Death Trust offers support to bereaved families across Scotland. It is important for professionals to know we are here to support them too. We hope this piece of work will help reduce the number of tragic events."
One mum-to-be who has already benefitted from the new resource described the advice she got was invaluable.
Donnamarie Bell, who is expecting her first baby this summer, said: “Credible information about which products are appropriate for babies is really important.
“You’re inundated with so much information when you’re pregnant. It’s crucial that as an expectant Mum, I know what is best and how I can reduce the risks to keep my baby safe.
“I now know that you need to keep babies sleeping space free from anything that could be near their face, even cuddly toys and cot bumpers. I also wasn’t aware that swaddling is no longer recommended and this is something that I no longer plan to do.
“Advice changes all the time and you might get different advice from friends and family. This advice should be for everyone whether you’re a first time mum like me or welcoming another new addition to the family.”
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