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.
- 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. If your baby is unwell, offer them regular feeds and don't let them get too hot. If your baby sleeps a lot, wake them up regularly for a feed to make sure they have enough fluid. If your baby has started weaning you may choose to offer them extra water instead of feeds if they prefer.
It can be difficult to judge whether an illness is more serious and needs urgent medical attention, if in doubt seek advice.
Your baby should sleep in a cot or moses basket with a well fitting and safety standard compliant mattress.
Duvets and pillows should not be used. If you use a sleeping bag, it should not have a hood
- 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
- premature (born before 37 weeks) or,
- had a low birth weight ((less than 2.5kg or 5.5lb)
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.