Babysitters pose highest risk in cot death cases
A STARTLING number of infants who die in their sleep are being looked after by relatives and babysitters who place them in unsafe sleeping positions.
A new study shows babies who are not with their parents are often put down to sleep on their stomachs or in dangerous locations, such as couches.
Of 10,000 infant deaths, 1375 occurred in the absence of parents, the report released in the Journal of Pediatrics reveals.
Midwives Australia spokeswoman Liz Wilkes told The Courier-Mail these numbers highlight the vital need for family and babysitters to be briefed on safety measures.
"It is good to see that the message about sudden infant death syndrome is getting through to parents, but it is important that the entire community is aware of recommended precautions," Ms Wilkes said.
SIDS is the leading cause of death among babies aged one month to a year.
In Australia in 2016, 94 deaths were classified as sudden unexpected death in infancy. These deaths include SIDS and fatal sleeping accidents, according to the Australian Institute of Health.
The international research shows just 49 per cent of babysitters adhere to recommended sleep positions, 29 per cent of relatives, and 27 per cent of friends.
It is recommended that infants are placed on their backs in a cot without soft bedding and toys.
"Taking children into an adult bed needs to be avoided, and smoking near a child is a no-no," Ms Wilkes said.
Sunshine Coast mother-of-three Nikita Guy makes sure her 12-week-old baby, Charlie, is placed on his back in his own cot, which she knows is safe.
"I am very conscious of the safety measures," she said.