Reducing the risk of sudden infant death
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden, unexpected death of an infant that remains unexplained. An infant is at a higher risk of SIDS during sleep, which is why it is sometimes referred to as cot death.
The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a moses basket or cot in your room for the first six months. Never sleep with your baby on an armchair or sofa.
Speak to your midwife, health visitor, family nurse or GP if you feel strongly that you wish your baby to sleep with you instead of in a cot or moses basket.
- Put your baby to sleep in a moses basket or cot in your room for the first six months
- Place your baby to sleep on their back in the feet to foot position (feet touching the bottom of the cot)
- Use a light blanket firmly tucked no higher than the baby's shoulders
- Use a clean, firm, well-fitting mattress
- Breastfeed if you can, and put your baby back to sleep in their cot after feeding
- If using a baby sleeping bag, make sure it is fitted with neck and armholes, and no hood
- Sleep with your baby on an armchair or sofa
- Allow your baby to sleep alone in an adult bed
- Allow your baby to share a bed with anyone who has been smoking, drinking alcohol, taking drugs (including medication) or is feeling overly tired
- Cover your baby's head
- Allow anyone to smoke around your baby
- Allow your baby to become overheated
- Leave your baby sleeping in a car seat for long periods or when not travelling in the car
- Put pillows, loose blankets, cot bumpers or sleep positioners in your baby's cot
The Lullaby Trust have produced resources for parents, carers and healthcare professionals.
If you are interested in learning more about the safery of co-sleeping, UNICEF has published a summary of research and recommendations: Co-Sleeping and SIDS