This week is Safer Sleep Week, brought to us by The Lullaby Trust. The trust works tirelessly to raise awareness of SIDS and how to reduce the risk.
What is SIDS?
SIDS stands for sudden infant death syndrome, it is the sudden and unexpected death of a baby where no cause is found. We do not know what causes it. Around 86% of SIDS deaths happen when a baby is six months old or less. To reduce the risk of SIDS for your baby, follow the Lullaby Trust’s evidence-based safer sleep advice –such as sleeping your baby on their back in a clear sleep space – for the first six months. After this time, the risk is reduced, however SIDS can still happen so it is best to continue the safer sleep routines you have built up over time.
These factors all need to be taken into consideration to reduce the risk:
- Sleep your baby on their back for all sleeps – 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, has been taking drugs or is extremely tired; 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.
One quick way to remember how to practice safer sleeping with a baby is ABC: ALWAYS place your baby on their BACK in a CLEAR cot.
When writing this blog and searching for a picture for the cover photo, I noticed how many pictures online and on social media advertise babies in the most dangerous of scenarios. Babies with loose blankets, soft toys everywhere in the cot, cot bumpers, falling asleep on a sofa with your baby. Please IGNORE these photos. This is not safe practice.
Do visit The Lullaby Trust’s website for more information, advice and guidance. They really do have excellent resources.