Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) - sometimes known as ‘cot death’ - is the sudden, unexpected and unexplained death of an apparently healthy baby.
In the UK, just under 300 babies die suddenly and unexpectedly every year. This statistic may sound alarming, but SIDS is rare and the risk of your baby dying from it is low.
Most deaths happen during the first six 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.
Parents can reduce the risk of SIDS by following the “Do’s & Don’ts” guideline provided here; the most important advice being not smoke while pregnant or after the baby is born, along with always placing the
baby on their back when they sleep.
The UK charity, The Lullaby Trust, can also provide expert advice on safer sleep for babies.
Advice line: 0808 802 6869
What can I do to help prevent SIDS?
Below is a list of things you can do to help prevent SIDS.
Always place your baby on their back to sleep.
Place your baby in the “feet to foot” position (with their feet touching the end of the cot, Moses basket or pram).
Keep your baby’s head uncovered. Their blanket should be tucked in no higher than their shoulders.
Let your baby sleep in a cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first six months and use a mattress that’s firm, flat, waterproof and in good condition.
Breastfeed your baby (if you can).
Smoke during pregnancy or let any one smoke in the same room as your baby (both before & after birth).
Sleep on a bed, sofa or armchair with your baby.
Don’t sleep in the same bed as your baby if you smoke, drink or take drugs or are extremely tired, if your baby was born prematurely or was of low birth-weight.
Let your baby get too hot or too cold. A room temperature of 16-20°c, with light bedding or a lightweight baby sleeping bag, will provide a comfortable sleeping environment for your baby.