THE number of healthy babies dying suddenly in their sleep across the borough has been drastically reduced.

Across England approximately 200 babies die suddenly and unexpectedly in their sleep each year.

In Barnsley, 12 healthy babies from family homes died in their sleep between January 2018 and December 2020.

In January 2021, a sleep safe group was launched by the council dedicated to supporting Barnsley families to keep their babies safe in their sleep, with safeguarding leads from South Yorkshire Police, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, GP practices, probation, voluntary services, midwifery, and health visiting.

The group listened to residents’ views on safe sleep and collecting national research from organisations like The Lullaby Trust, who specialise in expert advice in raising awareness of sudden infant death.

From this, guidelines and a training programme to promote safe sleep were developed, following recommendations from the national review into deaths of babies who died in their sleep - which can be viewed online.

These resources have proved to work effectively, and no babies died in their sleep in 2021 in Barnsley.

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Every key agency working with families with babies in the borough now has a Safe Sleep Champion.

Coun Caroline Makinson, cabinet spokesperson for public health and communities, said: “We aim to keep every Barnsley baby safe in their sleep for many years to come, making sure that everyone has the best possible chance of enjoying life in good physical and mental health.

“If you’re a parent, are expecting a baby, or know someone who is and would like to discuss safe sleep tips, please don’t hesitate to contact your midwife, health visitor or message the 0-19 Public Health Nursing Service on Facebook.”