baby feet
Deaths of children while sleeping with their parents have been recorded at 655 babies since 2013 Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Parents in the UK have been warned not to sleep in bed with their babies as nearly three tots are accidentally dying in a week because of either suffocation, over-heating or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (Sids).

According to The Mirror, "co-sleeping" deaths in babies have been recorded at 655 since 2013, with more than a hundred accidental baby deaths recorded every year in the past five years —131 in 2013, 141 in 2014, 121 in 2015, 131 in 2016 and 141 in 2017.

Mirror noted that the data, compiled by local authorities' Child Death Overview Panel officials, was revealed for the first time by the Department of Education as part of a freedom of information request.

"Some parents choose to share a bed with their baby but we recommend they keep in mind the risk factors," Francine Bates of The Lullaby Trust told the publication, adding that the risk of baby deaths increases if the parents are smokers, consumes alcohol, drugs or is just very tired while "co-sleeping" with their babies.

Bates said that there is a greater risk of babies dying during "co-sleeping" if the "baby was premature or at a low birth weight". She added that parents falling asleep with their babies in their arms while seated on a sofa or armchair increase the risk of Sids by 50 times. Sids, also known as crib death or cot death, refers to the unexplained death of infants during their sleep.

Bates recommends that parents should use a baby cot for the first six months to minimise any physical risk to their newborns. "The safest place for a baby to sleep is in their own cot or Moses basket in their parents' bedroom until they are at least six months old," Bates said. "If you are breastfeeding in bed, do it in a position where you won't fall asleep. A good tip is to set an alarm on your phone."

In 2017, a heartbroken mother called on other parents to not fall asleep in bed with their newborns after she lost her baby doing so, according to a report in The Sun. Lauren Jordan had said that she was cuddling her son after she took him out of his cot. But before she could put him back in his cot, she fell asleep with her newborn in the middle of her and partner, waking up hours later to find their baby with no signs of life.