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How to reduce the risk of SIDS

Our safer sleep advice gives simple steps for how you can sleep your baby to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) which is commonly known as cot death. It can give you the peace of mind to enjoy this special time.

Our advice is based on strong scientific evidence and should be followed for all sleep periods, not just at night.

If you have any questions about SIDS or safer sleep, please call our information line on 0808 802 6869 (lines open Monday-Friday 10am-2pm).

How to sleep your baby more safely

A baby in a cot, wearing a sleeping bag.

Safer sleep in winter

The weather is getting colder which can make following safer sleep advice more complicated. We have put together some tips on how to care for your baby and keep baby safe when the weather is cold.

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Illustration of sweating baby

The safest room temperature for babies

It is important to make sure that your baby’s room is a comfortable temperature – not too hot or too cold. The chance of SIDS is higher in babies who get too hot. Try to keep the room temperature between 16 -20°C

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Co-sleeping with your baby

Some parents choose to share a bed (also known as co-sleeping) with their babies. It is important for you to know how to do this safely and that there are some circumstances in which bed-sharing with your baby can be very dangerous.

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What is SIDS?

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden and unexpected death of a baby where no cause is found. We answer some frequently asked questions about SIDS.

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Illustration of baby sleeping on its back

The best sleeping position for your baby

Always put your baby on their back for every sleep, day and night, as the chance of SIDS is particularly high for babies who are sometimes placed on their front or side

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Illustratration of mum sharing room with baby

Sharing a room with your baby

Give your baby a clear, safe sleep space, in the same room as you.

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Sleeping products

Choosing what items your baby might need can be overwhelming. To help with this we have put together a product guide with information on how to choose the products or items your baby needs to reduce the chance of SIDS, what types of products you should avoid and what the marketing actually means.

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A clear cot is a safer cot

Babies are at higher risk of SIDS if they have their heads covered, so it is safest to keep baby’s cot clear of any items such as bumpers, toys and loose bedding. Unnecessary items in a baby’s cot can also increase the risk of accidents

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No smoking sign

Smoking during pregnancy and around your baby

If you or your partner smokes while you’re pregnant or after your baby is born, the risk of SIDS is greatly increased

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The best mattresses and bedding for your baby

With so many products on the market, it can be easy to get confused about what babies should sleep in or on. Remember, the safest mattresses for your baby are firm and flat and protected by a waterproof cover

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baby sleeping illustration

Reducing the risk of SIDS for premature babies

Babies who are born prematurely (before 37 weeks) or of low birth weight (under 2.5kgs) are particularly vulnerable to SIDS and it is important that all the safer sleep advice is followed

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Some research suggests that using a dummy when putting a baby down to sleep could reduce the risk of SIDS but it is advised to wait until after breastfeeding is established.

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Safer sleep for twins

Whether you decide to sleep your babies in the same cot or separately, the risk of SIDS will be greatly reduced if you follow all of our safer sleep advice for each baby, day and night

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Illustration of swaddled baby

Swaddling your baby and using slings

We do not advise for or against swaddling. If you choose to swaddle your baby or use a sling it is very important to follow guidelines to reduce the risk of SIDS

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A woman breastfeeding her baby

Breastfeeding and SIDS

Breastfeeding lowers the risk of SIDS. Breastfeeding for at least 2 months halves the risk of SIDS but the longer you can continue the more protection it will give your baby.

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Baby Check app

Our Baby Check app can help parents or carers decide how ill their baby is. Just answer some simple questions about your baby's symptoms and the app then lets you know whether their baby needs to see a doctor or health professional.

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Car seats and SIDS

Research into the link between car seats and SIDS found young babies may be at risk of breathing difficulties if they travel while sat upright for too long. Babies should not sleep in car seats longer than necessary and should be taken out when you reach your destination.

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Coping with sleep deprivation as a new parent

Coping with sleep deprivation as a new parent can be very challenging. It might seem like everyone else’s babies sleep more than yours. All babies are different but it is normal for healthy babies to wake during the night in their first few months of life.

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Vaccinations and SIDS

Immunisations and SIDS

Vaccinating your baby reduces the risk of SIDS. We advise you to make sure your baby receives all their scheduled vaccinations.

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Safer sleep publications

Download or order our safer sleep publications.

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Coronavirus and caring for your baby

We have put together the latest advice on coronavirus for if you are pregnant or have a young child

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Dads Zone

We've created a dedicated safer sleep page for new and expectant dads and partners filled with everything you need to know.

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Safer sleep presentations

Watch our free presentations on how to sleep your baby safely and reduce the risk of SIDS

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Quick tips for safer sleep

Things you can do
  • Always place your baby on their back to sleep
  • Keep your baby smoke free during pregnancy and after 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
  • 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 or take drugs or are extremely tired, if your baby was born prematurely or was of low birth-weight
  • Avoid letting your baby get too hot
  • Don’t cover your baby’s face or head while sleeping or use loose bedding

I want to help

Bereavement support:
0808 802 6868
Information & advice:
0808 802 6869