A Beverley woman whose newborn son died after she fell asleep with him in bed is urging parents to think about where their babies are sleeping over the Christmas and New Year period.
Four-day-old Ellis was spending his first night at home when his mother, Louise Barrett fell asleep while breastfeeding him.
Since the tragedy 10 years ago, Louise has spearheaded a number of campaigns to ensure all new parents are aware of the dangers of sharing a bed with their baby and promoting safer sleeping.
With the Christmas and New Year period here and parties and family gathering happening, Louise is now asking parents to make sure they know their baby is sleeping in a safe place.
She said: “The first night I had Ellis home I was breastfeeding and I was so tired that I fell asleep.
“When I woke up, Ellis was cold and despite all the life-saving exercises I had learned, I couldn’t save my boy.
“I can honestly say it was the worst day of my life and naturally I will always blame myself even though it wasn’t my fault, but it doesn’t stop me feeling guilty every day.
“I would now to like to ask any parent who is planning overnight stays to friends and family over the Christmas and New Year period to think about where their baby is sleeping and make sure they are as safe as possible.”
Bron Sanders, independent chair of East Riding Safeguarding Children Board, said: “My advice to anyone is that the safest place for your baby to sleep in a crib or cot in the room with you for the first six months.
“It may be difficult if you stay spontaneously at someone’s house but aim to put the baby to sleep in as safe a place as possible, such as a travel cot or Moses basket.”
DID YOU KNOW…?
The number of infant deaths tends to be higher in the winter months but with a few simple steps, parents can reduce the risk for their babies.
* never sleep on a sofa or in an armchair with their baby
* not sleep in the same bed as their baby if they smoke, drink or take drugs, are extremely tired or if the baby was premature or of low birth weight
* avoid letting the baby get too hot
* not cover the baby’s face or head while sleeping nor use loose bedding
* always place the baby on their back to sleep
* use a firm, flat waterproof mattress in good condition.
For more information on safer sleeping, visit the Lullaby Trust website at www.lullabytrust.org.uk
PICTURE CAPTION: Louise Barrett with baby Ellis, who died 10 years ago.