Q&A with the CEO of The Lullaby Trust
Here we meet Jenny Ward, the Chief Executive of the charity the Lullaby Trust, where she has worked for 14 years.
Tell us about the Lullaby Trust
The Lullaby Trust is a charity that was established nearly 50 years ago, in 1971, following the death of baby Martin Charles de Selincourt. Martin’s grandmother Nancy Hunter-Gray was unable to accept the sudden, unexplained death of her healthy grandson and donated funds to hold a two-day conference in 1970. This led to the creation of the charity now known as the Lullaby Trust.
Every year 230 babies die of sudden infant death syndrome in the UK. We don’t know what causes SIDS, also known as cot death, but what we do know is that there are simple steps parents can take to reduce the chance of it happening.
We aim to make sure all parents receive up to date and scientifically-proven advice and support on how they can keep their baby as safe as possible. We also train and provide information to healthcare professionals who support new families.
The Lullaby Trust also helps families who experience the sudden loss of a baby, providing emotional and practical support. We work to ensure that families are fully supported through this devastating experience.
What is the safer sleep advice?
The safer sleep advice is really important and has helped to reduce SIDS rates in the UK by over 80% since they were introduced. The full list is available on our website but some key points to remember are:
Always sleep your baby on their back (never their front or side);
In their own separate sleep space, in the same room as you for the first six months;
Keep them smoke free – in pregnancy and when they are born.
These points are particularly important if your baby was born prematurely (before 37 weeks) or had a low birth weight (under 2.5kg).
Where is the best place for my baby to sleep?
The safest place for your baby to sleep is a separate sleeping place such as a cot or bassinet in the same room as you for the first 6 months, even during the day.
Choose a mattress for your baby that has a firm, flat, waterproof surface. Make sure it is in good condition and that it fits the Moses basket or cot properly. A baby also needs a clear sleep space, with no padding, pillows or toys; just their bedding. It sounds like a very plain place for a baby to sleep but it is all they need, and they need room to wiggle around which they will do!
What bedding does my baby need?
A newborn baby needs very little, but bedding is one thing they do need. Make sure they don’t overheat by using layers and checking your baby’s chest and back to make sure they don’t feel clammy, which might mean they are too hot. A baby sleep bag is a good alternative to blankets as a well-fitting sleep bag cannot cover a baby’s face, which we know is a risk. It also stops your baby from kicking off their blankets in the middle of the night.
Why has the Lullaby Trust partnered with HALO®?
Halo are a great partner for us and we are really excited by the plans we have together. Both the charity and HALO® share in common that they were created by families devastated by the death of a baby without knowing why. We share a passion to ensure other families do not go through this tragedy. Our partnership means we are able to invest in safer sleep advice and to support bereaved families. We know families have been hit particularly hard by the current pandemic and that access to health professionals is reduced, and we hope we can use our partnership to give every family access to safer sleep advice. We particularly love the ‘back is best’ that is sewn into every sleep bag, so there is no way to forget that important message!
Where can I go for advice on safe sleeping?
If you have any questions about SIDS or safer sleep, you can visit our website for more advice www.lullabytrust.org.uk or call our information line on 0808 802 6869 (lines open Monday-Friday 10am-5pm).
‘’We are delighted to be working with a company that is committed to safer sleep for babies. The Lullaby Trust encourages all families to sleep their baby in a cot or Moses basket in the parent’s room for the first six months. HALO®’s BassiNest® Essentia and SleepSack® complement our advice perfectly and we will be working together to help all families give their babies the perfect start in life.’’
Jenny Ward, CEO of The Lullaby Trust