***Trigger warning: This content may cause some readers distress***
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a rare and often unexplained condition that most deaths occur during the first three months of a baby’s life.
Evidence shows that sleeping a baby in a cot with no toys or sleep aids as well as on a firm, flat, waterproof surface can help reduce the risk of fatal sleeping accidents in kids.
In Australia, 117 babies died suddenly and unexpectedly, of those, 54 were identified as SIDS. However, SIDS is rare and the risk of your baby dying from it is low. Here are some guidelines to follow…
GUIDELINES: What you can do to help reduce the risk of SIDS
1. Sleep your baby on their back
While it was popular to sleep your baby on it’s front in the 1980s, research shows that sleeping a baby on his or her back, not tummy or side, is the safest sleep practice.
2. Make sure nothing is covering your baby’s face
Remove all hats, pillow and toys from your baby’s cot or any loose clothing.
3. Avoid cigarette smoke near your baby
Avoid exposing your baby to tobacco or smoke after birth.
4. Make sure your baby has his own place to sleep
Sleep your baby in a safe place on their own for the first six to 12 months, but that’s in the same room as you for the first six months.
5. Ensure the cot and mattress are secure
Choose a cot that meets Australian Standard AS2172 and ensure the mattress is firm, clean, flat and fits the cot correctly.
6. Make sure all blankets are firmly tucked in
Use a swaddle, baby sleeping bag or tuck in all blankets in the cot.
7. Position your baby at the bottom of the cot
It’s recommended by health care professionals that babies are placed at the bottom of the cot.
8. Breastfeed if you can
Experts believe breastfeeding helps lower the risks of SIDS.
9. Make sure your pram is secure
Make sure there are no loose equipment or straps on the bouncer or pram.
10. Avoid covering the pram
A blanket or sheet can create an unsafe and hot environment for your baby, with little airflow.
11. Keep heaters and electrical appliances away from the cot
Avoid the risk of your baby overheating as well as being burned.
12. Do not leave your baby unattended
It’s unsafe to leave your baby sleeping unattended in a pram, rocker or bouncer.
13. Make sure your baby is awake during tummy time
Tummy time helps your little one strengthen his muscles, but make sure he is awake while doing this and supervised.
14. Dress your baby according to the weather
Make sure your baby is wearing the correct clothing that’s right for the weather.
SIDS is a rare condition and most deaths occur during the first three months of a baby’s life.
If you want more information on SIDS, you can read more here. For support, the SIDS Bereavement Support Services can be accessed by calling 1300 308 307.
Make sure you read our article on why sharing a room, but not a bed, with your baby can cut the risk of SIDS by 50 per cent.
For more new mum advice – join The Healthy Mummy’s New Mum Support Group
Becoming a mum – especially of the first time – can be an exciting, daunting, confusing and interesting experience. You certainly step into a whole new world – that often feels a whole lot unfamiliar.
Breastfeeding, formula, dummies, cots, mastitis, baby health and development – there are so many things to know and understand.
If you are a new mum wanting to connect with other new mums, ask questions and share your own experiences – you should join The Healthy Mummy’s New Mum’s Facebook Private Support Group.