Create a safe sleeping environment to avoid SIDS

The risk of SIDS is at its highest between the age of 0-6 months. Here is how you can create a safe sleeping environment to help mitigate against this risk.

5 steps to sleep safety

  • Always place your baby to sleep on her back – This should be done from day one for both daytime naps and night time sleeps. Putting your little one on her back to sleep will not increase her risk of choking should she vomit. When your child is old enough to roll over, you shouldn’t prevent this. The back to sleep campaign began in 1994 and has seen an incredible reduction in SIDS cases. This is now called the safe to sleep campaign as there are more things we can do:
  • Share rooms for at least the first 6 months – Your baby should always sleep in her own age/size appropriate bed and never in your bed, on a chair or on the sofa. If you opt to co-sleep you must make this as safe as possible too. Is it safe to co-sleep with a newborn?
  • Use a new, firm, correctly fitted mattress – Your baby should have a new mattress that is suited for the exact size of her bed/cot/Moses basket. The general guidance for cots is there should be no more than a 4cm gap between the cot and mattress. You should never use a second hand mattress and when buying, always check it conforms to safety requirements: mattresses should carry the BSI number BS 1877-10:1997. If you are unsure which sized mattress to buy, measure the sleeping area of the bed and take these measurements with you to a reputable shop.
  • Keep soft objects out of your baby’s sleep area – This allows the air to flow around your baby preventing overheating and also ensures there are no suffocation risks. Teddies, pillows, cot bumpers and additional blankets/bedding all fall into this category so keep them out!
  • Don’t let your baby overheat – You should always check the temperature of your baby’s sleep area before dressing her for the night and also re-check her body temperature throughout the night where appropriate. Click here for more information on tog rating and room temperatures.
  • Resources:
    NHS, nichd, Which