Sleeping on sofa with baby can raise infant death risk by 50 times say Western Trust health visitors in safe sleep drive

Sleeping on a sofa or a chair with a baby can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by up to fifty times, health visitors in the Western Trust have warned.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 5:01 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 5:04 pm

The importance of sharing a room with a new born child has also been stressed as this can significantly reduce the risk of cot death.

Caroline Cameron, a Student Health Visitor for the Western Trust, issued advice to new mothers and fathers in a promotion drive to help reduce the risk of infant mortality.

“Always place your baby on their back in a clear cot. Use a firm, flat, and a waterproof mattress. Keep your baby in a crib or a moses basket.

Mothers and fathers can also practice a number of simple parenting approaches to ensure the welfare of their children.

“Share a room with your baby for the first six months of their life as this can reduce the risk of SIDS by half,” said Ms. Cameron.

Cigarette smoke increases the risk of SIDS, she added.

“Keep your baby smoke-free during pregnancy and after birth,” she said.

Mothers and fathers can also practice a number of simple parenting approaches to ensure the welfare of their children.

“Breast feed your baby. Skin-to-skin contact can also reduce the risk of SIDS as well as dummies. However, we recommend stopping dummies by the age of nine months,” Ms. Cameron stated.

Another member of the student health visiting team warned how sleeping with an infant on a chair can drastically increase the risk of SIDS.

“Never sleep on the sofa or the chair with your baby. This can increase the risk of SIDS by fifty times,” said Shauna.

She also stressed the dangers of cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.

“Never share the bed with your baby if you smoke, drink alcohol, take drugs or any medication that may make you drowsy,” said the student health visitor.

Some simple practical steps can be taken to make sure your baby is safe.

“Do not use a pod, a nest or a pillow in the cot. Your baby should have nothing soft around their head when they are sleeping.

“Do not have any cot bumpers or soft toys in the cot. You should have a clear view of your baby while they sleep in the cot.

“Do not have any hats on when they are indoors as this can lead to overheating.

“Also keep your temperature between 16 and 20 degrees indoors,” she said.

The Western Trust issued the advice to coincide with Safer Sleep Week 2021 that took place last week and is used by the Lullaby Trust to heighten awareness around the issue.

For advice and information visit the Lullaby Trust website at

The Western Trust health visiting team have issued important advice about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).