"Hi, I am the Chief Executive of The Lullaby Trust, so I am the person who leads the charity day to day. I have been with the charity for 13 years, most of which was spent running our bereavement support and information services. This gave me amazing first-hand knowledge of why we still exist and what we are here to achieve.
Can you tell us a bit about the charity, how it started, what you do and why it’s so important?
The Lullaby Trust originally formed as The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) in 1971.
Following the death of baby Martin Charles de Selincourt in 1969, the organisation was founded by Martin’s grandmother Nancy Hunter-Gray. She was unable to accept the sudden, inexplicable death of her healthy grandson and gave £200 to hold a two day conference at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge in 1970.
As FSID, we worked to reduce the number of sudden infant deaths, in much the same way as we do today.
Every year 200 babies still die suddenly and unexpectedly and over half of those deaths remain unexplained. We don’t know what causes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), often known as cot death, but what we do know is that there are simple steps parents can take to reduce the risk of it happening.
We aim to make sure all parents receive up to date and scientifically-proven advice on how they can keep their baby as safe as possible. We also train and provide information to healthcare professionals who support new families, to make sure parents receive consistent advice and are equipped with the knowledge to sleep their baby more safely.
The Lullaby Trust also helps families who experience the sudden loss of a baby, providing emotional and practical support. We work to ensure that families are fully supported through this devastating experience.
How can I sleep safely with my newborn?
The safest place for your baby to sleep is a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first 6 months, even during the day.
We know however that families also bed share, and recommend making your bed a safer place for baby whether you doze off accidentally, or choose to bed share. For safer co-sleeping keep pillows, sheets and blankets away from your baby or any other items that could obstruct your baby’s breathing or cause them to overheat.
More tips and advice can be found on our website
What’s the best position for babies to sleep in? Has this advice changed over the years?
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 SIDS.
In the late 80s, SIDS rates were still at an all-time high. Research showed that the chance of SIDS is much higher when a baby is placed on their front to sleep. In 1991 everything changed when the charity joined forces with daytime TV star Anne Diamond, who sadly lost her son to SIDS, and the Department of Health, to launch the Back to Sleep campaign.
The national multimedia campaign to warn parents that babies should sleep on their backs was a huge success and the number of deaths is much lower now due to evidence-based advice being followed by parents, such as lying babies on their backs to sleep.
It is important to make sure that your baby’s room is a comfortable temperature – not too hot or too cold. The chance of SIDS is higher in babies who get too hot, so try to keep the room temperature between 16-20◦C.
Every baby is different and our advice on room temperature is intended as a guide. So while it’s important to be informed about overheating, you need to check your baby regularly to see if they are too hot.
Feel your baby’s tummy or the back of their neck (your baby’s hands and feet will usually be cooler, which is normal). If your baby’s skin is hot or sweaty, remove one or more layers of bedclothes or bedding.
Where can I go for advice on safe sleeping?
If you have any questions about SIDS or safer sleep, you can visit our website for more advice www.lullabytrust.org.uk or call our information line on 0808 802 6869 (lines open Monday-Friday 10am-5pm)."