Sleep Safety for Babies

Keeping Your Baby Safe At Night

Sleeping can be one of the most anxious times for new parents. Being aware of the causes of the rare condition SIDS, or cot death, can help you relax when your little one is asleep.

What is SIDS?

“Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden and unexplained death of a baby where no cause is found. While SIDS is rare, it can still happen and there are steps parents can take to help reduce the chance of this tragedy occurring,” says a spokesperson from The Lullaby Trust, the charity that works with families who have been bereaved by cot death.

We still don’t really know for sure what the reasons behind SIDS are or how it is caused. Things that have been implicated are: if the baby becomes too warm, passive smoking and exposure to chemicals.

What Bedding Should I Choose For My Baby?

It is important that you get the right amount of bedding on your baby’s cot or crib to ensure that he or she does not get too hot. This also means that you should adjust bedding so that it can only come up to the shoulders and place the baby at the bottom of the cot in the “Feet To Foot” position, so he can’t wriggle underneath the bedclothes and get too hot that way.

When the nursery (or your bedroom when your child is sleeping in your room up to six months) is at the temperature of around 18 degrees Celsius, your baby needs a sheet, plus two cotton blankets. If the weather is warmer, decrease the amount of bedding and increase if it’s colder. Don’t forget that a doubled sheet counts as two layers. In very hot weather, just a vest is fine.

A baby sleeping baby such as the Gro Bag is ideal. Not only does it have a Tog rating (avoid those that don’t) so that you know how warm it will be, like the duvet on your bed, but your baby can’t wriggle under the covers or out from them, causing them to wake up cold. If the room is 19 degrees, as above, a 2.5 Tog sleeping bag is ideal and your baby should wear just a long-sleeved top under the bag.

Why The “Feet To Foot” Position?

When putting baby down to sleep it’s recommended that you use the “Feet To Foot” position. This means baby’s feet should touch the foot of the cot, which will prevent them from wriggling under the sheets. All bedding should be tucked in and covers should reach no higher than baby’s shoulders.

SIDs Prevention Checklist

Things you can do

✔ Always place your baby on their back to go to sleep
✔ Keep your baby in a smoke free zone during pregnancy and after the birth
✔ Place your baby to sleep in a cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first six months
✔ Breastfeed your baby, if you can
✔ Use a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in good condition

Things to avoid

✘ Never sleep on a sofa or armchair with your baby
✘ Don’t sleep in the same bed as your baby if you smoke, drink, or are extremely tired, or if your baby was born prematurely or if they had a low birth weight
✘ Avoid letting your baby get too hot
✘ Don’t cover your baby’s face or head while sleeping or use loose bedding

If you would like further information, visit the website of the Lullaby Trust.

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