A Blackburn Rovers player is helping to raise awareness of a horrific condition that claims the lives of hundreds of children each year.

Championship top-scorer Sammie Szmodics is helping Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, which provides care from Chorley and South Ribble Hospital, and Royal Preston Hospital, to promote a campaign.

Lullaby Trust’s Safer Sleep 2024 campaign aims to raise awareness of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS),  sometimes known as ‘cot death’, among babies. This is the sudden, unexpected and unexplained death of an apparently healthy baby.

At the end of February, the 28-year-old became a father again, less than four hours before playing 90 minutes for Blackburn Rovers in their 1-1 draw against Norwich City at Ewood Park.

Ahead of his 300th EFL career appearance, the Republic of Ireland international was with his wife as she gave birth to their second child at 11.15am, before racing to join up with his teammates for the 3pm kick-off.

To help raise awareness of the Safer Sleep campaign, Sammie has shared some advice.

He said: “Put baby on their back for every sleep in a separate, flat, clear sleep space.

“Keep them smoke free day and night. Never sleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair.”

Safer Sleep Week is The Lullaby Trust’s national awareness campaign targeting anyone looking after a young baby. It aims to raise awareness of SIDS and the simple advice that reduces the risk of it occurring.

The theme for Safer Sleep Week is the safest place. During the campaign, the Lullaby Trust will show parents and carers the simplest way to create a safe sleep space for their baby that will help to protect their vulnerable airways and reduce the risk of SIDS and accidents. 

According to the NHS, around 200 babies die suddenly and unexpectedly every year.

Most deaths happen during the first 6 months of a baby's life. Infants born prematurely or with a low birthweight are at greater risk. SIDS also tends to be slightly more common in baby boys.

SIDS usually occurs when a baby is asleep, although it can occasionally happen while they're awake.

It is different from sudden unexplained death in childhood (SUDC), which is when a child over one-year-old dies and a cause cannot be found. SUDC is rare and the cause is not known.