Reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) sometimes known as cot death is the sudden, unexpected and unexplained death of an apparently healthy baby. Whilst it is rare, it can still happen and there are steps you can take to help reduce the risk for your baby:

  • Place your baby to sleep in a clear, safe sleep space e.g. separate cot or Moses basket in the same room with you for the first six months, day and night.
  • Use a firm, flat mattress with no raised cushioned areas, no pillows, quilts or duvets, or bumpers.
  • Don’t use any pods, nests or sleep positioners.
  • Always place your baby on their back for every sleep.
  • Don’t cover your baby’s head or face while sleeping and place him or her in the ‘feet to foot’ position.
  • Keep your baby in a smoke free area at all times, day and night.
  • Don’t let your baby get too hot or too cold. The ideal room temperature should be between 16 and 20°C.
  • Do not share a bed with your baby if you or your partner smoke, drink alcohol, take drugs or are very tired. It is advised not to share a bed with your baby if they were born prematurely (before 37 weeks) or has a low birth weight under 2.5kg.
  • Never sleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair.
  • Breastfeeding your baby reduces the risk.
  • Ensuring your baby receives their course of vaccinations in their first year of life reduces the risk.

If you think your baby is showing any signs of being unwell, always seek urgent medical advice.