BABIES have been enlisted to help researchers at Durham University study safe and healthy sleeping for fellow tots.
The youngsters, who are aged up to five months, and their mums and dads have been staying in the university’s Sleep Lab for two nights.
The two studies are testing the effectiveness of baby sleeping bags and bedside cots, which attach to the parents’ bed, at keeping babies safe at night.
So far, no research has been done outside of hospitals to see whether bedside cots are better or worse than stand alone cots, or if they make a positive impact on breastfeeding.
The team also wants to test the effectiveness of baby sleeping bags in keeping babies’ body temperatures at a safe level, compared with traditional sheets and blankets.
For both studies, parents and babies will sleep in the Sleep Lab at Durham University’s Queen’s Campus in Stockton, which is a bedroom with bathroom, TV and kitchen facilities.
Sleep Lab director, Professor Helen Ball, said: “Our aim in the Sleep Lab is to provide solid evidence which health professionals and parents can use to make decisions about how and where babies can sleep safely.
“There is so much pressure on new parents in particular to make the right decisions about how to care for their baby and to choose the right equipment to do so.
“The problem is that there is a shortage of evidence-based guidance about a lot of the products on the market and we really want to make sure parents and health professionals can have access to this.”
Jo Lundy, 31, who took part in the sleeping bag study with her now six-month-old son Ollie, said: “I took part in the study as I didn’t know very much about the research that had been carried out in relation to babygro bags and was contemplating putting Ollie in one.
“I was curious as to whether their statements about maintaining baby body temperatures were true and I was also keen to support such a worthwhile study.”
Other studies conducted by the scientists at the Sleep Lab include those looking at bedding, temperature control, sleep in toddlers, breastfeeding, use of dummies and bed-sharing.
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