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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-5pm).

How to sleep your baby more safely

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

The safest place for your baby to sleep is a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first 6 months, even during the day.

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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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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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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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Illustration of woman breastfeeding baby

Breastfeeding can reduce the risk of SIDS

Breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS. Breastfeeding for even a few days is better than none but the recommended time is a minimum of 6 months

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Dummies and SIDS

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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Illustration of swaddled baby

Swaddling your baby and using slings

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 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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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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Illustration of an e-cigarette

Using e-cigarettes around your baby

There is not yet any research on e-cigarettes and SIDS, but using an e-cigarette appears to be much safer than continuing to smoke; both during pregnancy and once your baby is born

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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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Baby sleeping in Moses basket

Sleeping products

The Lullaby Trust is often asked whether or not we recommend a particular product. We aren’t able to comment on individual products but encourage parents and professionals to look at our evidence-based advice before making a decision about their baby’s sleeping environment.

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What is SIDS?

Frequently asked questions about sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

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Safer sleep publications

Download or order our safer sleep publications

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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