Safe sleeping

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS):

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden and unexpected death of a baby where no cause is found. This is also known as “cot death”. While SIDS is rare, it can still happen and there are steps parents can take to help reduce the chance of this tragedy occurring.

How to reduce the risk of SIDS
  • Place your baby on their back to sleep, in a cot in the same room as you, for the first 6 months.
  • Don't smoke during pregnancy or breastfeeding, and don't let anyone smoke in the same room as your baby.
  • Don't share a bed with your baby if you have been drinking alcohol, if you take drugs, or you're a smoker.
  • Never sleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair.
  • Don't let your baby get too hot or cold. The optimum room temperature is about 18C (65F) is ideal.
  • If it's very warm, your baby may not need any bedclothes other than a sheet. Even in winter, most babies who are unwell or feverish don't need extra clothes.
  • Keep your baby's head uncovered. Their blanket should be tucked in no higher than their shoulders.
  • Place your baby in the "feet to foot" position, with their feet at the end of the cot or Moses basket.
  • If your baby is unwell seek medical help promptly
  • Babies often have minor illnesses that you don't need to worry about. Give your baby plenty of fluids to drink and don't let them get too hot. If your baby sleeps a lot, wake them up regularly for a drink. It can be difficult to judge whether an illness is more serious and needs urgent medical attention.
Co-sleeping advice - the risks of co-sleeping:

The safest place for your baby to sleep for the first 6 months is in a cot in the same room as you.

It's especially important not to share a bed with your baby if you or your partner:

  • are smokers (no matter where or when you smoke and even if you never smoke in bed)
  • have recently drunk alcohol
  • have taken medication or drugs that make you sleep more heavily

The risks of co-sleeping are also increased if your baby was:

  • premature (born before 37 weeks) or,
  • had a low birth weight ((less than 2.5kg or 5.5lb)

As well as a higher risk of SIDS, there's also a risk you might roll over in your sleep and suffocate your baby. Your baby could get caught between the wall and the bed, or roll out of an adult bed and be injured.

Never sleep with a baby on a sofa or armchair. It's lovely to have your baby with you for a cuddle or a feed, but sleeping with your baby on a sofa or armchair is linked to a higher risk of SIDS. It's safest to put your baby back in their cot/Moses basket before you go to sleep.

For further information and resources, please see the following links;

For Parents/Carers:

NHS Guidance.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/reducing-risk-cot-death/

UNICEF.

https://www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/baby-friendly-resources/sleep-and-night-time-resources/caring-for-your-baby-at-night/

Lullaby Trust.

https://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/safer-sleep-advice/

https://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/safer-sleep-advice/co-sleeping/

CAPT.

https://www.capt.org.uk/suffocation-prevention

https://www.capt.org.uk/News/we-support-safer-sleep-week

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