Alex supports Safer Sleep Week to raise awareness of cot death – and call for greater support for parents

On this Safer Sleep Week – a campaign to raise awareness of sudden infant death syndrome (SID) – Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham, has joined baby charity The Lullaby Trust to call for more information be given to for parents on how to sleep their baby safely.

Around four babies a week die from SID. According to figures obtained from the Office of National Statistics, rates of SID – commonly known as “cot death” – in the North East are considerably higher than the national average. More worryingly, SID rates in the North East have risen in contrast to an overall decline nationally.

A national survey of over 7,000 new parents conducted by The Lullaby Trust, found that a third of parents in the North East are not aware of one of the most vital pieces of safer sleep advice: sleeping a baby on their back for every sleep. Sleeping a baby on their back for every sleep is one of the most protective actions that can be taken to reduce the risk of SIDS. Since this came into public awareness with the Back to Sleep campaign in 1992, the rate of SIDS deaths has dropped by 82%.

Alex and the Lullaby Trust are calling on health trusts to ensure parents are equipped with the information they need to reduce the risk of SID.

Alex said:

Losing a child in any circumstance is a tragedy, we don’t know why sudden infant death syndrome occurs but we do know that if all parents and carers followed safer sleep advice, many babies’ lives would be saved. The survey results show that there is a clear need to improve awareness of sudden death infant syndrome in the North East, and the steps that can be done to reduce the threat.

Raising awareness of safer sleep saves babies’ lives. That’s why I am supporting the Lullaby Trust and Safer Sleep Week to urge local health trusts to equip parents with the support they need to reduce cot death.

Jenny Ward Chief Executive of The Lullaby Trust said:

The results of this survey suggest that although we’ve come a long way in reducing SIDS rates, more needs to be done to ensure that all parents and carers in the North East are aware of the importance of following safer sleep practices for every sleep day and night.

We strongly urge local authorities and health trusts to help us bring down the number of deaths in the North East by ensuring safer sleep messages consistently reach all families.

For more information about safer sleep visit