The NHS in South Yorkshire is sharing information with parents and families to help keep children and babies warm and well this time of year. As the temperature decreases over the next few months, parents are encouraged to refresh their knowledge around safe sleeping in winter.

As the cost-of-living crisis continues, families are often having to decide when and how to heat their homes, which can impact on small children in the household. Neonatal services across the region are encouraging parents to use The Lullaby Trust ‘safer sleep in winter’ guide which outlines how to keep your baby safe when the weather gets cold.

Cathy Winfield, Chief Nursing Officer at NHS South Yorkshire, said: “The winter months can often be hard for families and with the cost of living rising, it is important that we help parents across our region look after their babies and young children.

“Safe sleeping in winter is key to this and can ensure that babies are getting the rest and sleep they need to develop and grow.”

The Lullaby Trust guide provides advice and information around bedding options, co-sleeping, how to check babies’ temperatures and signposts to further support if needed.

Jacqueline Yeates, System Transformation Lead for South Yorkshire’s Local Maternity System, said: “If you are unable to heat the whole house, try heating the main rooms where your baby will be in, with a temperature around 16-20 Degrees Celsius. Always follow the advice on baby sleeping bags with regards to the weight or age the baby should be to use one. The safest place for a baby to sleep is in their own clear, flat, separate sleep space, such as a cot or Moses’ basket in the same room as you.”

Further advice for parents and families with young children at home including:

  • No hats on inside
  • Do not put the cot directly in front of the radiator, heater or fire
  • Skin to skin is not just for hospital but is strongly encouraged to be implemented at home too
  • In the early days of a baby’s life, hands and feet can feel cold to touch but the baby could be the correct temperature. Get used to checking the baby’s chest and back of their neck and compare this to your own chest and neck temperature
  • Blankets should be no higher than the collarbone, and should be tucked in around the baby to ensure warm air is trapped in.

Sonal Kansra, Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust adds: “When babies are unwell, with a respiratory infection, we want to do everything we can for them. However, it is important to follow the advice from the Lullaby Trust not to put hats or too many blankets/clothes on them indoors. If your child appears unwell, further advice is available on the South Yorkshire Healthier Together website.”

“If you can keep your room temperature in the range of 16 – 20 degrees, this reduces the possibility of damp and mould developing, which could cause problems for children with respiratory illnesses”.

If you have questions or would like advice on safe sleeping this winter, visit South Yorkshire Healthier Together website or contact your midwife or your local GP.