Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) – also known as ‘cot death’ – is the sudden and unexplained death of a seemingly healthy baby.
In the UK, less than 300 babies die in this way every year. This statistic may sound alarming, but SIDS is rare and the risk of your baby dying from it is low.
You can lower the chances of SIDS by following this simple sleep guidance. This advice is based on strong scientific evidence. You should try to follow this advice for all sleep periods where possible, not only at night.
Things you can do:
- always place your baby on their back to sleep
- do not smoke during pregnancy or after the birth
- place your baby to sleep in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first 6 months
- breastfeed your baby, if you can
- use a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in good condition
Things to avoid:
- never sleep on a sofa or in an armchair with your baby
- don’t sleep in the same bed as your baby if you smoke, drink, take drugs or are extremely tired,
- or if your baby was born prematurely or with low birth-weight
- avoid letting your baby get too hot
- don’t cover your baby’s face or head while sleeping
- don't put loose bedding, stuffed animals, or toys in the cot with the baby