Safe Sleeping Tips for Babies
It is important to know the best sleeping positions for babies so as to make sure that everything is ok and to avoid sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI).
According to a reputable Australian website, Raisingchildren.net.au, investigations into the deaths of children from sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) including SIDS and fatal sleeping accidents have consistently shown that one or more of the following risk factors are associated with almost all SUDI-related infant deaths:
- sleeping baby on her tummy and side
- sleeping baby on soft surfaces (sofa, soft mattress, pillow, waterbed, lamb’s wool), with or without a parent
- baby’s face and head getting covered by bedding – this can lead to accidental suffocation and
- overheating, which is a known cause of SUDI including SIDS and fatal sleeping accidents
smoking during pregnancy or after birth.
Here are the safe sleeping tips to avoid SUDI.
- Put babies to sleep on their backs: This is the safest position for healthy babies. Babies are more likely to die of SUDI including SIDS and fatal sleeping accidents if they sleep on their sides or tummies. Once your baby can roll over (at around 4-6 months), keep putting him to sleep on his back, but let him find his own sleeping position.
- Make sure babies’ heads can’t get covered while they’re sleeping: Put your baby low down in the cot, so her feet are near the bottom end. Tuck in the bed sheets securely so they can’t cover your baby’s head. You could use a safe infant sleeping bag instead of blankets. Sleeping bags with a fitted neck and armholes and no hood are the safest.
- Avoid smoking: There’s strong evidence that exposure to second-hand smoke harms babies, and that smoking during pregnancy and after birth increases the risk of SUDI including SIDS and fatal sleeping accidents. The link between SUDI and smoking is strong even when parents smoke away from their baby
- Use a firm and well-fitting mattress: Make sure there are no gaps between the mattress and the edge of the cot, where a baby’s head could get jammed. Don’t tilt the mattress. If you’re using a portable cot, use only the firm, thin, well-fitting mattress that comes with it. Don’t add a second mattress or any padding over the mattress.
- Dress your baby in clothing that’s warm, but not hot: Overheating is a risk factor for SUDI including SIDS and fatal sleeping accidents. Ask yourself what you would wear to bed and use that as a guide. Keep your baby’s head uncovered indoors – this allows your baby to cool and not overheat. Don’t worry if your baby’s hands and feet feel cool – that’s normal.