Be Cot Safe
Recommendations are that you place your baby on their back for both day and night sleeps with their feet to the foot of the cot. This will reduce the risk of cot death. Side sleeping is not as safe as sleeping on the back. Healthy babies placed on their backs are less likely to choke.
The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a cot in a room with you for the first six months.
Is it safe for my baby to sleep in my bed?
If you are bottle feeding the safest place for your baby to sleep is in a cot by your bed. If you are breastfeeding, bringing your baby in to bed with you often makes for a good and comfortable feed and it is very easy to fall asleep with your baby.
Current guidelines state that it is unsafe for your baby to sleep in bed with you, if you or your partner:
- Are smokers,
- have recently drunk alcohol,
- taken drugs or medication which make you sleep more heavily,
- or if you feel very tired.
You may feel that it is more comfortable to breastfeed your baby whilst lying down, however it is important to consider the risk of falling asleep whilst doing this as adult beds are not designed with infant safety in mind. UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative have an excellent leaflet called 'Sharing a bed with your baby - A guide for breastfeeding mothers' you can download this leaflet by following the 'Baby Friendly' link at the bottom of the page.
Risks of bed sharing are also increased if your baby was premature (born before 37 weeks) or was of low birth weight (less than 2.5kg or 5.5lb).
Never sleep with a baby on a sofa or armchair
It’s lovely to have your baby with you for a cuddle or feed but it’s safest to put your baby back in their cot before you go to sleep.
Don’t let anyone smoke in the same room as your baby
Babies exposed to cigarette smoke after birth are also at an increased risk of cot death.
Nobody should smoke in the house, including visitors. Anyone who needs to smoke should go outside to maintain a smoke free home.
Cut out smoking during pregnancy; partners too! Smoking greatly increases the risk of cot death. It is best not to smoke at all. If you are pregnant and want to give up, please call the NHS Pregnancy Smoking Helpline on 0800 169 9 169.
Don’t let your baby get too hot (or too cold)
Babies do not need hot rooms; all night heating is not necessary. Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for you at night. About 16-18°C is ideal.
Overheating can increase the risk of cot death. Babies can overheat because of too much bedding or clothing, or because the room is too hot.
If your baby is sweating or their tummy feels hot to the touch, take off some of the bedding. Don’t worry if your baby’s hands or feet feel cool, this is normal.
It is easier to adjust the temperature with changes of lightweight blankets. Remember, a folded blanket counts as two blankets.
Remove hats and extra clothing as soon as you come indoors or enter a warm car, bus, or train, even if it means waking your baby.
If your baby is unwell seek medical advice promptly. Babies find it difficult to regulate their temperature when they are unwell.
For further information on reducing the risks of Sudden Infant Death contact: