Babies who sleep routinley on a cot mattress that has previously used by another child may be at and increased risk of cot death.
According to a study published by researchers at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow, who believe that there may be a link between the bacteria in previousley used cot mattresses and cot deaths.
The Study of 131 cases of cot deaths which they looked at, found that around half of the babies had died on previousley used mattresses. And of this around 33% of those used mattresses had come from another home.
This four year study was published in the British Medical Journal and found that routine use of a baby’s mattress that was previously used by another child was significantly associated with an increased risk of sudden Infant death syndrome SIDS, especially if the mattress had come from another home.
These findings back up an earlier survey which was carried out by researchers at the hospital back in 1997.
Dr David Tappin a consultant paediatrician at the Yorkhill NHS Trust said : ” What we would say to parents is that the most important steps to take to reduce cot death are to put babies on their back to sleep and to stop smoking during pregnancy and keep the baby smoke-free after the birth.
“Our research is not saying there is a definite risk from used mattresses but the way of avoiding a potential risk is to use new mattresses.”
To put this into perspective and to avoid scare mongering, In the UK around 500 babies die every year from sudden Infant death syndrome. whereas there are 690000 babies born each year in the UK so the risk is 1 in 1380, having said this if a new cot mattress gives an advantage it seems an easy decision.
Dr Tappin said he was surprised by the results of their previous survey but believed it was important to bring the findings out into the public domain to allow parents to make their own choices.
Hazel Brooke the executive director of the Scottish Cot Death Trust, also commented and said that they did not want to alarm parents with the findings and added the following : “I think that the interesting thing about the mattress data is that families are desperate to do anything they can to reduce the chances of cot deaths to their babies. And we are constantly getting phone calls from parents asking if there is anything more they can do. We feel that it would be unethical to sit on this research until five years down the line when someone else has enough data to publish. We feel we must say to parents at this stage that this is a potential risk.”
Researchers on the study also looked at 278 healthy infants to make comparisons.
The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths FSID advises that it does not matter what kind of cot mattress is used, or whether it is new, as long as it is clean, firm, does not sag and shows no signs of deterioration.
The charity also pointed out that the new study does not say whether the used mattresses in the study met these criteria.
Dr Richard Wilson, FSID trustee and paediatrician, said: “Babies are safest sleeping on their backs on clean, firm, well-fitting mattresses.
Source Mail Online