Safeguarding Babies & Infants

Pregnancy and the first two years of a child's life are extremely important stages in their development.

Babies and infants physical, emotional and psychological development and critically, the development of relationships with their carers, are all shaped by their experiences.

Research is increasingly demonstrating how their early childhood development impacts on their cognitive and emotional development at school, through adolescence and into later life.

Babies and young infants are entirely dependent on their parents and carers to meet all of their need all of the time and it is this helplessness that can make them vulnerable.

On this page you will find information, guidance and resources in relation to safe sleep and prevention of accidental injuries which helps to reduce Sudden Unexpected Death in Children (SUDIC) in Wakefield.

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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • What are SIDS?
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    Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden and unexplained death of an infant where no cause is found after detailed post mortem.

  • How prevalent are SIDS?
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    In 2020, nationally there were:

    – 196 unexplained infant deaths occurred in the entire UK in 2019, a rate of 0.28 deaths per 1,000 live births

    – 170 unexplained infant deaths occurred in England and Wales in 2019, a rate of 0.27 deaths per 1,000 live births: a decrease from 0.32 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2018

    – Just over half (55.3%) of all unexplained infant deaths were boys in 2019 (0.29 deaths per 1,000 live births). This is a decrease from 57.6% in 2018

    – In 2019, the unexplained infant mortality rate was highest for mothers aged under 20 years, at 0.96 deaths per 1,000 live births

    Credit: Office of National Statistics, National Records of Scotland and Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency 2020

    In Yorkshire & Humber, latest available data shows:

    – SIDS rates in Yorkshire and the Humber have increased from 0.29 in 2017 to 0.40 in 2018

    – Rates of SIDS deaths in Yorkshire and the Humber are now amongst the highest in the country, considerably higher than the average rate in England and Wales of 0.30

    Credit: The Lullaby Trust, Reducing Sudden Infant Deaths in Yorkshire & the Humber, 2021

  • Further information on SIDS
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    For further information on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, visit The Lullaby’s Trust website

Safe Sleep

In Wakefield, any practitioner who comes into contact with parents and carers of babies should have an awareness of safer sleep practices and feel able to provide key safe sleep messages.

Depending on your service and role, you may also provide specific support and further guidance to parents and carers in relation to safe sleep.

Therefore it is a key areas for all practitioners who work with children and families, where babies are present, to have a working knowledge of safe sleep practices in the district as referenced within the Wakefield Safe Sleep Standard.

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Wakefield Safe Sleep Standard

The Wakefield Safe Sleep Standard provides guidance and resources to use to promote safe sleep practice:

  • Definitions on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), co-sleeping, bed sharing and overlaying
  • What best practice looks like
  • Engaging parents in safer sleep practices
  • Key messages on co-sleeping, bed sharing, SIDS, breastfeeding, co-bedding, swaddling, dummy use, carriers and slingsResources for parents and practitioners
  • Safer Sleep Questions
  • Overlay Risk Assessment

Download the latest version below:

Wakefield Safe Sleep Standard
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The Lullaby Trust

The Lullaby Trust are a leading national charity, who raise awareness of SIDS, provide expert advice on safer sleep for babies and offer emotional support for bereaved families.

There is a range of information, guidance, research, resources and training available for practitioners to access, in addition to advice and guidance for parents and carers.

Visit The Lullaby Trust website for further information.

Look out for ...
  • Text link image Wakefield Safe Sleep Training
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    WSCP and Wakefield Council Public Health have teamed up with The Lullaby Trust to provide online safe sleep awareness training for all practitioners who work with children and families in the district.

    Places for the training are released on a regular basis and bookable through the WSCP Training section.

ICON: Babies Cry, You Can Cope

ICON Babies Cry, You Can Cope programme supports parents and carers manage normal infant crying and to prevent abusive head trauma injuries to babies caused by shaking, also referred to as ‘shaken baby syndrome’.

ICON is an evidenced-based programme designed to help parents and carers understand the normal crying pattern of young infants and to help them develop successful coping mechanisms to deal with this.

The ICON programme delivers four simple messages before the birth and in the first few months of a baby’s life:

– Infant crying is normal;

C –Comforting methods can help;

O – It’s OK to walk away;

N – Never, ever shake a baby.

ICON was launched in Wakefield in 2020, and the programme has been demonstrated to help parents and carers manage the stresses which can be caused by normal infant crying. Midwives, Health Visitors and other practitioners across the district have developed ICON expertise to help give parents and carers the tools they need to help keep their babies safe.

There are a host of resources including leaflets and a series of videos which can be accessed from the ICON website.


On-the-go wellbeing support is available to new and expectant fathers in Wakefield. 

DadPad is free to download and provides on-the-go support and advice to help fathers enjoy their babies, feel more confident and support their mental and emotional wellbeing.
The DadPad App can be downloaded for free:

For further information on DadPad and how it fits with the ICON programme, visit the ICON website.

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WSCP Safeguarding Babies & Infants Masterclass Pt.1

WSCP delivered a safeguarding babies and infants masterclass to provide briefings across a number of key safeguarding developments.

Part one covers:

  • Local Responses to Safeguarding Young Babies and Infants in Wakefield
  • Why We Need to Prioritise Infant Mental Health 

WSCP Safeguarding Babies & Infants Masterclass Pt.2

Part two covers:

  • Parental Mental Ill Health, Impact on Young Babies and Infants 
  • Learning from recent Reviews and Audit Activity Concerning Babies and Infants 
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