Reducing the risk of sudden infant death

Date published: 12 April 2019

Parents and carers are being reminded that there are measures which can be taken to reduce the risk of sudden infant death. If your baby becomes unwell, seek medical advice quickly.

Simple measures to take

Sudden infant death is rare but it’s important to follow a few simple measures to help reduce the risk. These include:

  • put your baby on its back to sleep, in a cot or moses basket in a room with you for the first six months
  • put your baby with their feet touching the foot of the cot, to prevent your baby wriggling down under the covers
  • use a light blanket firmly tucked no higher than the baby’s shoulders and a clean, firm, well-fitting mattress
  • if using a baby sleeping bag make sure it’s fitted with neck and arm holes and doesn’t have a hood
  • don’t put pillows, loose blankets, cot bumpers or sleep positioners in your baby’s cot
  • don't smoke in pregnancy or let allow anyone to smoke around your baby
  • don't share or allow anyone to share a bed with your baby, especially if you/ they have been drinking alcohol, have taken medication or drugs, are a smoker, or feel very sleepy
  • never sleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair
  • don't cover your baby's head
  • don't allow your baby to become overheated
  • don't leave your baby sleeping in a car seat for long periods or when not travelling in the car
  • never allow your baby to sleep alone in an adult bed
  • breastfeed if you can and put your baby back to sleep in their cot after feeding

You can get further information on the following page:

If you have any questions, no matter how small or trivial you might think they are, talk your health visitor who can provide practical advice.

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