Health bosses in Portsmouth are on mission to prevent sudden deaths in babies

LOSING a baby can have devastating effects for a family – and now safeguarding teams are launching a joined-up approach to help prevent avoidable deaths.

Monday, 9th March 2020, 4:58 pm
Updated Monday, 9th March 2020, 6:02 pm
Launch of initiative to promote safe sleeping for babies and prevent suddeninfant death at Portsmouth Central Library, Portsmouth. Pictured: Sam Smith, Learning and Improvement Co ordinator for Hampshire Safe Guarding Children Partnerships demonstrating the importance of how to position a baby when he or she sleeps. Picture: Habibur Rahman

On average 240 babies die per year in the UK from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and although the numbers have dropped by 82 per cent since 1991, the Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton Safeguarding Children Partnerships say even ‘one death is one too many’.

The teams met professionals from housing, police, children and family centres and the voluntary sector today at Portsmouth Central Library today to share the key safety messages that should be given to parents.

Tina Scarborough, director of quality and safeguarding at NHS Portsmouth CCG, said: ‘Our key message is that the safest place for babies to sleep is in the same room as their parents but in a cot or Moses basket for at least the first six months.

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‘It is so important to get this message out to everybody and have those conversations with people to make sure they know the best ways to make every sleep safe.

‘There is nothing worse for a family than losing a child and, although numbers have dropped, we need to keep reminding people because one death is one too many.’

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In Portsmouth, there were 21 baby deaths between 2004 and 2007, but in the last five years there has only been one infant death in the city, with the safeguarding board carrying out a serious case review.

Derek Benson, independent chair of the Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton Safeguarding Children Partnerships, said: ‘It is always an important issue no matter what the numbers are, and while they have dropped considerably, we still need to work together to ensure people know there is help and advice out there about what to do.’

Judi Lynn from Brighton lost her son Adam in 1987 when he was just eight weeks old shared her tragic story at the launch.

The second-time mum had put Adam down for a nap in a carrycot but when she came back 10 minutes later, she found her son ‘floppy’.

She said: ‘Adam was only here for eight weeks and people think I was left with nothing.

‘But I was left with the experience and talking to others and supporting them is something I can do with it.’

Judi is now a befriender at The Lullaby Trust which provides support raises awareness of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), provides expert advice on safer sleep for babies and offers emotional support for bereaved families.