One of the biggest worries for many new parents is sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which refers to the sudden unexplained death of an otherwise healthy baby under the age of one, usually during their sleep. Premature babies, or those with a low birth weight, are at greater risk, and it tends to be slightly more common in baby boys. Thankfully, SIDS is rare, and the prevalence has fallen significantly over the past few decades as advice about reducing the risks is more widely shared. While healthcare professionals don’t know exactly what causes SIDS, a lot of research has been done into the things parents and caregivers can do to create a safer sleeping environment for their little one.
Do’s for reducing SIDS
Based on advice from the NHS, recommendations are as follows:
- always place your baby on their back to sleep
- place your baby in the “feet to foot” position – with their feet touching the end of the cot, Moses basket, or pram
- keep your baby’s head uncovered – their blanket should be tucked in no higher than their shoulders
- let your baby sleep in a cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first six months
- use a mattress that’s firm, flat, waterproof, and in good condition
- breastfeed your baby, if you can
- recent studies have found that using a pacifier while the baby is sleeping reduces the risk of SIDS
Dont’s for SIDS
- smoke during pregnancy or let anyone smoke in the same room as your baby – both before and after birth
- sleep on a bed, sofa, or armchair with your baby
- share a bed with your baby if you or your partner smoke, or if you’ve been drinking alcohol, taking any sedative pain relief-medication or sleeping pills
- let your baby get too hot or too cold – a room temperature of 16C to 20C, with light bedding or a lightweight baby sleeping bag, will provide a comfortable sleeping environment for your baby. NB. here in the UAE, we’re used to much warmer temperatures, and the recommendation is 22 to 24 degrees Celsius. Signs your baby may be getting too hot include sweating, or their chest feels hot.
You should also visit your paediatrician and/or midwife for regular check-ups to assess their health and development. At Nightingale, we provide a wide range of postnatal support at home or in our clinic, provided by fully-trained nurses.
Contact us to find out more.