Keep travelling children safe

02:00, Dec 24 2012

Parents in Marlborough should make sure their travel plans and alcohol intake during the Christmas holidays don't put their children's health at risk, South Island Alliance Child Services chairman Nick Baker says.

Parents should remember to provide a safe sleeping environment for their babies, Dr Baker said.

Smoking during pregnancy combined with unsafe sleep practice exposed babies to the highest risk of sudden unexplained death in infancy, he said.

"When people are travelling for the holidays, they still need to make sure infants are safe where they sleep. While travelling, people may think that a couch, adult bed, makeshift bed or armchair are suitable places for their baby to sleep, but we know that these options put babies at a much higher risk of accidental suffocation," he said.

Dr Baker, a paediatrician with the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board, said Christmas was a good time of year to remind parents of the risks of smoking during pregnancy and around babies.

The South Island Alliance had asked health professionals to support parents to get smokefree, and to make sure that others didn't smoke around their babies and children.


"We know New Year's resolutions are a great chance to make changes and there is a lot of support available if people want a smokefree life."

Keeping children safe these holidays also extended to caregivers planning on getting into the party mood, Dr Baker said.

"Those parents planning on indulging in drinking and partying need to make sure that there is always a sober caregiver around who can ensure that the needs of their infant are taken care of."


Essential messages for parents and caregivers:

Safe place: Plan how you will ensure every sleep is a safe one for your baby during the holidays

Safe position: Make sure others know how important it is that babies sleep flat and on their backs.

Safe breathing: Keep the cot bare so babies can keep their faces clear and keep breathing during their sleep

Safe bedding: Tuck bedding firmly or use a baby sleep bag instead of blankets

Safe baby: Only baby in the sleeping space – no pillows, toys or other objects

Safe location: Keep babies close to caregivers while in their own sleeping space. Beds designed for babies are safest

Safe air: Make sure every breath is a smokefree one for your baby. 

The Marlborough Express