The UK may be enjoying the high temperatures and blue skies from this heatwave, but experts have warned parents to be extra cautious with their babies because of the risk of cot death.
With temperatures set to reach a record high, The Lullaby Trust has issued advice for parents to keep their babies safe and cool this summer.
The charity which works to raise awareness of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) also known as Cot Death, warns that babies who get too hot are at an increased risk of SIDS.
Keeping any room cool for your baby is going to be difficult, but to reduce the chance of SIDS the ideal temperature of a baby’s room should be 16-20°C.
Every baby is different and it’s important to check if their chest or the back of their neck feels clammy as this is a sign they are getting too hot.
How to keep them cool
Keeping rooms from getting too hot can be difficult, especially with temperatures set to soar into the high 30s so The Lullaby Trust advises parents to:
- Close the blinds or curtains during the day to stop the room your baby sleeps in from getting too hot
- Put a fan in the bedroom to help circulate the air, but make sure it is out of reach and not pointed directly at your baby
- Reduce layers; just a nappy with no bedding is fine in hot weather
- Monitor the temperature with a room thermometer
Jenny Ward, Chief Executive of The Lullaby Trust says: “We know that overheating is a risk factor for SIDS, so keeping babies from getting too hot is important.
We appreciate how hard it can be to keep babies cool in such hot weather, so we would urge parents to regularly monitor their baby’s temperature.
If their baby’s skin is hot or sweaty, remove one or more layers of bedclothes or bedding, and think about moving them somewhere that might be a bit cooler.”
The trust says it’s important that babies are kept cool when out and about in hot weather. Ensure prams are covered with a clip-on sunshade to keep baby out of direct sunlight and their temperature monitored to avoid overheating.
Prams should not be covered with blankets, cloths or any cover that prevents the air from circulating. Covering a pram with a blanket could lead to overheating, which increases the chance of SIDS.
Babies should be kept out of direct sunlight and kept indoors during the hottest part of the day.
If possible, parents should avoid taking their baby on public transport during peak hours and try to find a shop or café with air-conditioning so that they can cool down.
It is harder to keep babies cool when away on holiday and travel can disrupt routines, so it is important that all safer advice is followed on holiday as well.
To reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) babies should be slept on their back on a firm, flat, mattress for every sleep day and night.
For more advice on safer sleep for babies visit the Lullaby Trust.
About sudden infant death syndrome
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden and unexplained death of an infant where no cause is found after detailed post mortem.
We do not know what causes SIDS. For many babies, it is likely that a combination of factors affects them at a vulnerable stage of their development, which leads them to die suddenly and unexpectedly.
However, we do know you can significantly reduce the chance of SIDS occurring by following safer sleep advice.
While SIDS cannot be completely prevented, you can reduce the risks of it occurring considerably by following our safer sleep advice.
- Sleep your baby on their back for all sleep – day and night – as this can reduce the risk of SIDS by six times compared to sleeping them on their front.
- Share a room with your baby for the first six months – this can halve the risk of SIDS.
- Keep your baby smoke-free during pregnancy and after birth – this is one of the most protective things you can do for your baby. Around 60% of sudden infant deaths could be avoided if no baby was exposed to smoke during pregnancy or around the home.
- Never sleep on a sofa or armchair with your baby as this can increase the risk of SIDS by 50 times.
- Do not co-sleep with your baby if you or your partner has been drinking, is a smoker or has been taking drugs; these factors can put babies at an extremely high risk of SIDS when co-sleeping. One study found that the risk of SIDS when co-sleeping is six times higher in smokers than in non-smokers.
The above is especially important for babies who were born premature or of low birth weight, as these babies are at a higher risk of SIDS.
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