The Lullaby Trust found almost all (94%) parents had heard of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) however, 15% thought it was fine for children to sleep on their tummies and a further 23% neither agreed or disagreed with this statement.
Around half of the 500 parents surveyed were unsure of basic steps they could take to reduce the risk of SIDS: the sudden unexplained death of an apparently healthy baby.
Francine Bates, chief executive of the charity, said, according to PA: “Twenty five years after the Back to Sleep campaign [showing research that babies were less likely to die if they were put to sleep on their backs], the survey results have shown us we need to go back to basics.”
One in four parents surveyed also thought it was fine for babies to sleep on their sides, while 45% disagreed and 30% neither agreed or disagreed.
This is despite 87% being aware that putting a baby on their back for every sleep reduces the risk of SIDS, according to the charity. Doing so reduces the risk of SIDS six times.
There were 230 sudden infant deaths in the UK in 2014, following a downward trend over the last decade. In 2001, there were 330.
The Lullaby Trust says babies should be put to sleep on their backs in a cot that is free of bumpers, toys and pillows.
A father who lost his daughter Sophia to SIDS shared his story to raise awareness of the syndrome.
“In January 2012 our lives changed forever when our beautiful daughter Sophia died suddenly and unexpectedly,” Robert Weeks, said.
“She was just about to turn 11 weeks old.
“We have still never had an explanation for why our healthy and ‘normal’ daughter died. We were one of 221 families that year whose child died for no apparent reason and with no cause found, even after a post-mortem was held.
“I think the work that The Lullaby Trust does to raise awareness of safer sleep for babies is absolutely vital.
“Every new parent should be made aware of this information if it will prevent other families from going through what we have been through.”