A safer sleep for baby

Many parents know that, sometimes, the routine goes out of the window in summertime.

But here’s a reminder of the importance of following safe sleep advice day and night to reduce the risk of suffocation or sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI).

Tragically, around 200 babies die from SUDI each year. Many could have been prevented.

Think ABC to remember the basics of a safer sleep for baby. Always on their Back in a Clear cot or sleep space.

A survey by the Lullaby Trust found that over two-thirds of parents let their baby sleep in items not designed for sleep, such a bouncer, beanbag or sofa. But the risk of SUDI is 50 times higher if you fall asleep with your baby on the sofa or armchair.

The safest place for a baby to sleep is in a Moses basket or cot in the same room as you for the first six months. Use a firm, flat and waterproof mattress and put baby’s feet to the foot of the cot to stop them wriggling down under the bedding.

It should be clear of pillows, bumpers or soft toys. Any bedding should be tucked in firmly below the baby’s shoulders.

If you choose to co-sleep with your baby, speak with your midwife or health visitor about how to make this safer.

Never share a bed with your baby if:

  • you or your partner smokes.
  • you or anyone in your bed has been drinking alcohol or taken drugs, including medications that make you drowsy.
  • your baby was born prematurely or had a low birth weight.

Adults know how difficult it can be to sleep in summer. But it is important that babies don’t get too hot as the risk of SUDI increases if they overheat.

Try to keep the temperature between 16 and 20°C and think about where you place the Moses basket or cot. If the room is hard to cool, close the curtains during the day and use a fan to circulate air. Use lighter bedding and clothing and open the bedroom door and a window if safe to do so.

When you are out and about in the sun, don’t cover baby’s pram with blankets or cloths as this blocks air from circulating and can cause overheating. Instead, use a clip-on sunshade or parasol and keep baby out of direct sunlight as much as possible.

For day trips or travel plans by car, take regular breaks to get baby out of the car seat as they are more at risk if they sleep in a seated position for a long time.

You can find more information around Safer Sleep from the Lullaby Trust.