SIDS stands for sudden infant death syndrome, also known as cot death. Sadly, doctors don’t know why some babies die suddenly and for no apparent reason. Cot death is rare, but there are things parents can do to reduce the risk:
- Place your baby on their back to sleep in a cot (or Moses basket) in your room, at least until they are six months old. The optimal position is feet to foot, so your baby’s feet are touching the bars of the cot. Once your baby can roll over, don’t worry if they end up sleeping on their tummy, at this later stage they can protect themselves.
- Do not smoke while pregnant and do not allow anybody smoke in the same room as your baby.
- Do not co-sleep if you have been drinking alcohol, if you take drugs (including strong medication) or if you are a smoker. The risk is also increased if you co-sleep with a premature or low-birth-weight baby.
- Avoid falling asleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair.
- Do not let your baby get too hot – check their temperature behind their neck and don’t cover their head. The ideal room temperature is 18C.
- Do not use quilts, duvets or pillows in your baby’s cot. Sleepbags suitable for your baby’s age or light blankets are recommended.