Mother and Baby

Understanding And Reducing The Risk Of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

You can’t help worry about every illness that could affect your baby and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is possibly the scariest condition there is, but you can help reduce the risks

It’s never nice talking about worst case scenarios that could affect your baby, but it’s better to be in the know so you can do all you can to prevent anything from happening.  This is the case with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the unexpected and unexplained death of a baby that absolute no mum in the world should have to face.

But sadly SIDS is a reality and is the most common cause of deaths in newborns. The good news? It’s very rare and preventative measures can be taken to help reduce the risks of it happening.

It’s very rare and preventative measures can be taken to help reduce the risks of it happening

The SIDS mystery

No one knows why SIDS happens but happily there are a lot of ways to help lessen the risk.

‘Five babies die every week from SIDS,’ says The Lullaby Trust’s head of advice, Jenny Ward. ‘But this number is much lower than it used to be thanks to more info for mums on the issue and research into it.’

The confusion with cot death

You may know SIDS as ‘cot death’, which is a misleading term as the safest place for your baby to sleep is in her cot in your room for the first six months.

‘SIDS can occur during any sleep period on any sleep surface,’ Jenny says. ‘Though remember that the safest place for your baby to sleep for the first six months is on her own sleep surface, in a room with you, for both daytime naps and night time sleep.’

Use the safe sleeping position

Get your baby used to sleeping on her back with her feet at the foot of the bed – in this position she’ll be able to breathe clearly.

And make sure you never fall asleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair – especially while giving a feed. If you do lie down to breastfeed, set an alarm on your phone so you won’t nod off.

Avoid smoke

Studies have shown that keeping your baby away from people smoking and smoky areas will hugely decrease the chance of SIDS occurring.

‘Don’t share a bed with your baby if you smoke yourself, or if you’ve been drinking alcohol or taking drugs or even are just feel very tired,’ says Jenny.

Get the right temperature

Make sure that the room your baby sleeps in is a comfortable temperature – overheating can be dangerous.

‘A room temperature of between 16-20°C, with light bedding or a lightweight, well-fitting baby sleeping bag is comfortable and safe for your baby,’ explains Jenny. ‘If you feel hot then your baby probably feels hot.’


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