The worry of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) can be a big fear for any new parent. I remember spending many a night in those early days on ‘sleep watch’ as a nervous first-time parent.
It’s not known why some babies die suddenly and for no apparent reason from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), or cot death. Sometimes there is nothing you can do, even if you follow all the recommendations for safe sleeping.
It’s important though to remember that SIDS is rare and as long as you follow approved sleep advice from sources such as the NHS, you can rest assure that you are doing everything you can to create a safe sleeping environment for your baby.
We’ve put together a handy guide ‘Baby Safe Sleeping for New Mums and Dads’ based on NHS and Lullaby Trust guidelines which you can download and save to your phone or computer.
What the Experts know:
- placing a baby to sleep on their back reduces the risk
- exposing a baby to cigarette smoke or allowing them to overheat increases the risk
- There is a strong association between sleeping with your baby on a bed, sofa or chair and SIDS
- Always place your baby on their back to sleep
- Place them in the ‘feet to foot’ position with their feet at the end of the cot, crib or moses basket. This prevents them wriggling down under their sheet or blanket.
- Place your baby in the same room as you, for the first 6 months but in their own sleep space. Around 85% of SIDS happen in the first 6 months of life*
- If using a blanket, it should be tucked in all the way around and placed no higher than their shoulders. Correctly sized sleeping bags are a great way of ensuring your baby is kept warm without the worry of loose bedding.
- Use a firm, correctly sized mattress with a securely fitted sheet.
- When using a bedside crib always ensure the sides are secured upright when baby is sleeping, unless being closely supervised.
- Ensure your own bedding cannot fall into your baby’s crib or moses basket.
- Don’t share a bed with your baby if you have been drinking alcohol, taken drugs or are a smoker. The risk of co-sleeping also increases if your baby was premature or had a low birth weight. The Lullaby Trust has produced advice on co-sleeping with baby if its something you choose to do.
- Don’t let your baby get too hot or too cold. The ideal room temperature is 18 degrees (65F)
- Never sleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair. Sleeping on a sofa with a baby can increase the chance of SIDS by up to 50 times*.
- Don’t use cot bumpers or place anything inside baby’s bed e.g. soft toys, loose bedding or pillows.
- Never cover baby’s head with items such as a hat, while sleeping inside.
- Don’t place anything inside the cot, crib or moses basket e.g. soft toys, lose bedding, pillows
Remember SIDS is rare, its just as important to not let the worry overtake the excitement of your new baby and enjoy those precious early days.
*Office of National Statistics, National Records of Scotland and Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency 2018
** NHS www.nhs.uk