In the UK more than 200 babies die from SIDS every year, most of these deaths occur in babies under 6 months and is more common while they are asleep. Although SIDS is rare it can be of huge concern to parents of infants and although the exact cause is unknown, there are multiple factors considered to increase the risk and many things parents can do to enable safe sleep and reduce the risk.
Parents are encouraged to always place their baby on their back with their feet touching the end of the cot or Moses basket, keep the baby’s head uncovered and allow them to sleep in the same room as them in their cot or Moses basket for the first six months. They are also encouraged to breast feed if they are able to and feel comfortable doing so.
Just like parents are advised to take certain steps, there are a handful of things they should also avoid.
A woman should not smoke during her pregnancy or allow someone to smoke in the same room as her and baby, before and after giving birth. Parents are also discouraged from sleeping in a bed, chair or sofa with their baby and especially told not to share a bed with baby after smoking, taking drugs or drinking alcohol. They also shouldn’t allow the baby to get too hot or cold, you can find lots of advice online on achieving the perfect, comfortable temperature for a baby to sleep successfully.
Similarly, whilst there is lots of advice surrounding the topic of SIDS and safe sleep for babies, there are also a lot of myths and misconceptions.
Some parents feel nervous about putting their infants on their backs to sleep as they believe it increases the risk of them choking but this is a myth and has no evidence to back up the claim. Another misconception is that sleeping on their side is just as safe as sleeping on their back, but this is incorrect as it is a lot easier for the baby to roll onto their stomach and increase the risk of SIDS. It’s important for parents recognise not all ‘tummy time’ is unsafe and while they are awake and being watched it can actually be beneficial and improve development of their neck and shoulder muscles.
For additional safety, we advise no loose blankets, pillows and cot bumpers. If you’re using sleep grow bags, they must be the correct size for your child, if they’re too large, babies can wriggle down putting them at risk.
Other hazards to avoiding include teddies, sheets and objects hanging over the cot.
While SIDS is one of the biggest concerns to new parents and there being no definite way of preventing it, the best thing that can be done is to follow recommended advice. By taking these precautions the risk of SIDS is reduced.
If you follow all advice and still have some major concerns about the risk of SIDS, then seek professional advice and ask your GP if there is anything extra you can do for a small amount more reassurance and comfort.
Scallywags and SIDS
At Scallywags, all staff follow the Safe Sleep Guidance and SID’s whilst babies and young children are in our care. All sleeping children at Scallywags are never left unattended and monitored whilst sleeping and records are kept and logged for parents’ information.
We have yearly training to protect children from SID’s and information boards on displayed for parents.