19/12/2008

Parents Urged To Ensure Kids Sleep Safe At Christmas

The number of children who have been accidentally suffocated by their parents as they slept in the last six months has risen.

The tragic deaths - which are up to four - were confirmed by NI's Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael McBride, just before Christmas.

Dr McBride said parents, on occasion, had inadvertently "rolled over on a child, or a child had "become trapped in the bed or in a sofa".

He warned about the dangers of falling asleep with a child - especially when alcohol has been consumed - which is said to be a particular risk factor.
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As Christmas and New Year see a lot of parties, the medical expert added that the risks need to be be considered: "It is important that all parents remember not to share a bed with your baby if you have recently drunk alcohol, taken medication or drugs that make you drowsy or sleep more heavily, or if you are a smoker - even if you never smoke in bed," he said.

"Sharing a bed with your baby carries the risk that you might roll over in your sleep and suffocate your baby, or that your baby could get caught between the wall and the bed or could roll out of an adult bed and be injured.

"Also, never sleep with a baby on a sofa or an armchair."

Dr McBride said the safest place for a baby to sleep was "on its back in a cot in a room with you for the first six months".

(BMcC/KMcA)

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