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One in five parents concerned about baby sleeping products

Figures released by the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) reveal that one in five parents who contacts FSID's helpline is worried about sleeping equipment for their infant.

The study, conducted to mark the launch of FSID's "Save a Baby" campaign this month, monitored FSID's helpline enquiries over a six-month period, from October 2006 to March 2007. The data show that 20% of parents and health professionals who contact the helpline have worries relating to sleeping equipment such as cots, bedding and mattresses. Common concerns also include where and in what position a baby should sleep (14%). A wide range of other worries - such as the use of dummies, swaddling and movement (apnoea) monitors, and travelling with a baby - are reflected as well in calls to the helpline.

Despite the dramatic fall since 1991 in the rates for sudden infant death - commonly known as cot death - it remains the UK's biggest killer of babies over one month old. FSID's helpline receives up to 100 enquiries a week from parents and health professionals baffled by the many varieties of sleeping products available and safe infant care advice.

To help raise awareness, FSID is launching a new month-long "Save a Baby" campaign, hoping to make sure that each and every parent of the 600,000+ babies born each year in the UK knows the positive steps they can take to reduce the risk of cot death. Parents seeking independent, proven safe sleep advice can call FSID's helpline on 020 7233 2090 or visit

FSID's top product advice tips for parents:

  • Ideally you should buy a new mattress for each new baby. If not, check that it is firm and in good condition, not damaged in any way and cleaned thoroughly.
  • Ventilated mattresses with holes are not recommended as it's not possible to keep the inside clean.
  • If your baby is under a year old, don't use a duvet, quilt, pillow, electric blanket or hot water bottle.
  • If you use a baby sleeping bag it needs to be without a hood, lightweight and the correct size around the neck so that your baby won't slip down inside the bag. Never use with a duvet.
  • Ensure your baby's cot is in good condition. Check that the gaps between the bars are less than 6.5cm, and the space between the mattress and cot is no more than 4cm.
  • If you use a Moses basket, it should only have a thin lining.
  • Never sleep your baby on a pillow, cushion, beanbag or waterbed.