Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is also referred to as cot death.
SIDS is very rare and research is ongoing to provide more information.
A baby should be placed on it’s back to sleep, this reduces the risk of SIDS. Babies should be placed with their feet to the foot of the cot this prevents them being able to wriggle down to the end and under the covers.
Once a baby can roll do not worry if they move to their side or front to sleep.
Bed sharing comes with increased risks, the safest place for a baby to sleep is in a cot.
If a baby falls asleep in your arms always put them in their cot before you go to sleep.
The room temperature should be about 18 degrees
Temperature can be controlled by adding and removing layers, if the room is warm then the baby may need just a sheet to cover them.
Even if a baby is unwell it is unlikely they will require extra clothes.
A baby’s head should not be covered when sleeping, as excess heat is lost through the head. If the baby has been outside, then a hat should be removed immediately on entering the indoors, for example a car shop or bus.
Covering a baby’s head increases the risk of SIDS
Do not use cot bumpers, duvets, pillows and quilts
A baby needs plenty of fluids, if they sleep a lot they should be woken regularly for fluids. Do not let a baby sleep in a car seat unless they are travelling and continually monitored.
Do not let a baby sleep in a sling, soft mattress or cushion, these can cause suffocation.
Swaddling is wrapping a baby firmly in a sheet or thin blanket, there are advantages and disadvantages to this, there is no recommendation it is purely down to choice. Further information on the advantages and disadvantages of this can be found at www.lullabytrust.org.uk
It is possible that dummies may reduce the risk of SIDS, if given from the beginning however professionals do not agree on the promotion of dummies.
A child with a dummy in its mouth could still choke when asleep, the dummy should be removed as soon as the child is asleep.
Dummies should not be used until breastfeeding is established.
Cigarettes are harmful to babies before and after they are born and smoking increases the risk of SIDS.