Safe Sleeping for Babies (NHS) – Know the Guidelines

You have probably heard of cot deaths common in young babies, but what exactly causes it? Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) also known as cot death’s exact cause is not known. However, risk factors include smoking, overheating, sharing a bed with your baby, covering the baby’s head, etc.

Most parents are scared of SIDS and therefore don’t even enjoy their baby that much. Those that have been affected by it directly or indirectly tend to live in fear. Though the exact cause is not known, avoiding the risk factors can protect your baby from cot death.

Put your baby’s cot in the same room as you but avoid sharing the same bed. Also, put him to sleep on his back as opposed to his stomach. Learn more ways to prevent cot deaths below.

Safe Sleeping for Babies (NHS) - Know the Guidelines



Put Your Baby to Sleep on Their Back

It is safer to have your baby sleep on their back as opposed to sideways and on their tummy. Sleeping on the back reduces the chances of choking hence reducing the likelihood of cot death. Ensure that they sleep in this position during the day and at night until they are old enough to roll and turn to their position of choice.

Avoid Smoking around the Baby

Smoke is said to cause suffocation especially to babies whose lungs are not yet fully developed. When a baby is sleeping, don’t contaminate their breathing air with smoke. Also, it is advisable for pregnant mothers not to smoke so that they give birth to normal babies. Smoking is associated with preterm and low birth weight babies which could also lead be a predisposing factor to cot deaths.

Sleep in the Same Room with Your Baby

Endeavor to sleep in the same room with your baby for the first six months. After that, they can stay or you move them to their room. This gives you ample time to constantly check on them. Also, in case of choking or suffocation, you can easily tell from the sounds the baby makes. Remember maternal instincts are always at play, so if you feel something is not right with your baby, check on them.

Get Firm Bedding

Put a firm mattress, bedsheet, and blanket so that the baby sleeps in a comfortable position. A firm mattress keeps the baby in one position compared to one that is not firm which creates a ‘depression’ following the baby’s weight. This can bury the baby’s head leading to suffocation and choking.

Safe Sleeping for Babies (NHS) - Know the Guidelines



Leave the Baby’s Head Uncovered

Ensure your baby’s head is left uncovered so that the baby has enough room to breathe. Ensure the covers are tucked in up to the shoulder and at no time should they get higher than that when the baby is less than six months. Also, make sure the beddings are tightly tucked in. The goal is to leave the mouth and nose free to minimize the chances of suffocation caused by bedding tampering with breathing.

Don’t Put the Baby to Sleep Immediately after Feeding

Spend some time carrying the baby to ensure they burp before you put them back to sleep. If the baby doesn’t burp, wait for it because then you know the milk won’t flow back. If you put them back to sleep immediately after feeding they are likely to choke on the breast milk hence increasing the likelihood of cot death. 

Feet to Foot Position

When putting your baby in the cot, have their feet touching the cot end so that there is enough room left in the upper part. This is to ensure the baby’s head has enough room to breathe and won’t be hitting the other end of the cot.

Last Thoughts

As much as cot deaths are a scare for many a mother, when you take the right precautionary measures you can avoid it. Make sure the baby is sleeping on firm bedding, put their cot in your room for the first six months, leave the head uncovered, don’t put them to sleep immediately after feeding, and avoid smoking during and after birth. Also, don’t smoke in the same room where the baby is sleeping.