The little book set to make a big difference . . . .

A Bradford student nurse has won a top prize for her innovation in aiming to promote safer sleeping in babies and reduce cot death.

Desiree Deighton, a third year student nurse, in the neonatal unit at Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI), part of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has been awarded the prize by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) for her ‘Safe Baby’ booklet.

The booklet has been put together for parents for when their babies are discharged from the neonatal unit, and gives advice on how to promote safe sleeping. It uses simple pictures to overcome any language barriers, and its uniqueness caught the eye of judges in the ‘Celebrating Nursing Practice’ project, which was launched as part of the RCN’s centenary celebrations.

Desiree said: “When babies are discharged from the neonatal unit, nurses work through a discharge check list which includes advice on safe sleeping. Neonatal babies often have respiratory issues and this can compromise their safety.

“There is an increased risk of infant death, and I really wanted to reiterate the message about safe sleeping positions. That’s when I had the idea about producing a safe sleeping booklet. I heard of the RCN project when it was launched around 18 months ago and I thought I would have a go at getting involved.

“The booklet tells its message through pictures because I wanted it to be language-friendly to overcome any language barriers. The idea is that the booklet is a flexible tool to be used by nurses and midwives alongside a translator to support the current guidance already given verbally. There are images about the best sleeping positions for baby, ideal room temperatures, the dangers of smoking and co-sleeping with tiny babies and so on.”

As a result of her innovation, Desiree was assigned an RCN mentor and her prize now is a fully-funded package to produce, advertise and evaluate the booklet within the Bradford neonatal service. The RCN would also like this resource to be rolled out to other Trusts.

Desiree added: “I am overwhelmed by the funding and support and am beyond excited what it means for the project and the neonatal unit, and I am really grateful to neonatal colleagues who have encouraged me and supported me.

“The funding will pay for a year’s worth of booklets to be used on BRI’s neonatal and transitional care units as well as by the Bradford Maternity Outreach team. The booklet will be officially launched in October, when copies will be inserted into ‘Red Books’ (the book distributed to parents by the College of Paediatricians across the UK) for those parents who do not speak English.

Desiree revealed that she already has plans for further ‘Safe Baby’ booklets if possible – on sterilisation, breastfeeding and using oxygen at home.

BRI Neonatal Matron, Kelly Young said: “This is a huge achievement for Desiree and we are very proud of her. We are also very fortunate that Desiree will be starting a staff nurse post with our neonatal unit in October!”