Quality statement 4: Infant health – safer infant sleeping

Quality statement

Women, their partner or the main carer are given information on the association between co‑sleeping and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) at each postnatal contact.

Rationale

Although the cause of SIDS is unknown, there are specific behaviours that may make SIDS more likely. There is some evidence that where co‑sleeping occurs there may be an increase in the number of cases of SIDS. Giving information to women, their partner or the main carer about this association will support them to establish safer infant sleeping habits, and may reduce the likelihood of SIDS.

Quality measures

Structure

Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that women, their partner or the main carer are given information on the association between co‑sleeping and SIDS at each postnatal contact.

Data source: Local data collection.

Process

a) Proportion of women, their partners or main carers of newborn babies who are given information on the association between co‑sleeping and SIDS within 24 hours of the birth.

Numerator – the number of women, their partners or main carers of newborn babies who are given information on the association between co‑sleeping and SIDS within 24 hours of the birth.

Denominator – the number of newborn babies.

Data source: Local data collection.

b) Proportion of women, their partners or main carers of newborn babies who are given information on the association between co‑sleeping and SIDS at every postnatal contact.

Numerator – the number of postnatal contacts in which women, their partners or main carers of newborn babies are given information on the association between co‑sleeping and SIDS.

Denominator – the number of postnatal contacts.

Data source: Local data collection.

c) Proportion of women, their partners or main carers of newborn babies who are given information on the association between co‑sleeping and SIDS at a postnatal contact 10–14 days after the birth (at the midwifery and health visitor handover when the woman and baby are discharged from the care of the community midwifery team to the care of the health visitor).

Numerator – the number of women, their partners or main carers of newborn babies who are given information on the association between co‑sleeping and SIDS at a postnatal contact 10–14 days after the birth.

Denominator – the number of newborn babies.

Data source: Local data collection.

d) Proportion of women, their partners or main carers of newborn babies who are given information on the association between co‑sleeping and SIDS at the 6–8 week postnatal check.

Numerator – the number of women, their partners or main carers of newborn babies who are given information on the association between co‑sleeping and SIDS at the 6–8 week postnatal check.

Denominator – the number of newborn babies.

Data source: Local data collection.

Outcome

a) Incidence of SIDS.

Data source: Office for National Statistics report Unexplained deaths in infancy – England and Wales: 2017.

b) Women, their partners and the main carers of babies know about the association between co‑sleeping and SIDS.

Data source: Local data collection.

What the quality statement means for different audiences

Service providers ensure that information about the association between co‑sleeping and SIDS is available, and that healthcare professionals are trained to understand and explain the information and to give it to women, their partners or the main carers of babies at every postnatal contact.

Healthcare practitioners ensure that they understand and can explain information about the association between co‑sleeping and SIDS, and that they give this information to women, their partners or the main carers of babies at every postnatal contact.

Commissioners ensure that they commission services that provide information about the association between co‑sleeping and SIDS, and that train healthcare professionals to understand and explain this information and give it to women, their partners or the main carers of babies at every postnatal contact.

Women, their partner or the main carer of babies are given information at every postnatal contact about the link between sleeping with their baby (this is called co‑sleeping and includes sleeping with them on a sofa or chair as well as in bed) and sudden infant death syndrome. Sudden infant death syndrome is the sudden, unexpected and unexplained death of a seemingly well baby. It is rare and no one knows what causes it. Some things, such as co‑sleeping, may make sudden infant death syndrome more likely.

Source guidance

Postnatal care up to 8 weeks after birth (2015) NICE guideline CG37, recommendations 1.4.45 and 1.4.47

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Co‑sleeping

Parents or carers sleeping on a bed or sofa or chair with an infant.

[NICE's guideline on postnatal care up to 8 weeks after birth, recommendation 1.4.47]

Main carer

For the majority of babies the main carer will be the mother. For some babies the main carer could be a close relative, for example the baby's father or grandparent, or for looked‑after babies this could be a foster parent.

Postnatal contact

Women and their babies should receive the number of postnatal contacts appropriate to their care needs. A postnatal contact is a scheduled postnatal appointment that may occur in the woman or baby's home, a GP practice or children's centre, or a hospital setting if the woman or baby needs extended inpatient care. For the majority of women, babies and families the postnatal period ends 6–8 weeks after the birth.

Equality and diversity considerations

Communication and information‑giving between women (and their families or the main carer) and members of the maternity team are key aspects of this statement. Relevant adjustments should be in place for people with communication difficulties, and those who do not speak or read English. Verbal and written information should be appropriate for the person's level of literacy, culture, language and family circumstances. Co‑sleeping can be intentional or a necessity, but all women, their partners or main carers of babies should be given information in a format they can understand, irrespective of their culture.