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HiPP's A-Z of pregnancy & child health

The A-Z contains information on many aspects of pregnancy
and child health. It is arranged alphabetically so you can find what you are looking for with ease. If you are at all concerned about your health or your child’s health, please consult your health professional.

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Cot Death (SIDS)

Most cot deaths (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) occur in babies under six months. We do not know exactly why they happen, but some theories suggest that affected babies may have problems with regulation of breathing, or temperature control.

To reduce the risk of cot death:

  • Do not smoke during or after pregnancy - and do not allow others to smoke around the baby
  • ‘Back to sleep’ - put baby on his or her back to sleep, with feet at the bottom of the cot or pram (‘Feet to Foot’)
  • Do not cover baby’s head (or use a hat) when they are asleep
  • Avoid overheating the baby. Keep baby’s room at a temperature of around 18°C (bedroom temperature)
  • Avoid excess bedding (bedding for babies). Do not use duvets, quilts or pillows for babies under 1 year old
  • Check their tummy (not hands or feet) to make sure they are not too hot
  • Do not put the cot next to a radiator, and place the cot out of direct sunlight making sure that it is not within reach of any kind of cord e.g. light or curtain pull
  • It is ideal to have a new mattress for each new baby. However, if this is not possible check that the mattress is undamaged and that it is thoroughly clean before re-using.
  • Don’t share a bed with your baby - particularly if you or your partner have been drinking, are very tired (or taking medication that causes drowsiness), if either of you smoke, or if the baby was premature or low birthweight
  • Current advice is for babies to sleep in a cot in their parents’ room for the first six months
  • Do not fall asleep with your baby on the sofa - it is not safe. Always put them back in their cot to sleep.
  • Settling your baby to sleep (day and night) with a dummy can reduce the risk of cot death, even if the dummy falls out while your baby is asleep.(If breastfeeding, do not begin to give a dummy until your baby is one month old to ensure breastfeeding is well established.) Don't force your baby to take a dummy if he or she doesn't want it and never coat the dummy in anything sweet.
  • If your baby is unwell, seek medical advice.

The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths can provide more information, advice and support on cot death (SIDS) visit: www.fsid.org.uk.

You can download the Department of Health leaflet ‘reduce the risk of cot death by clicking here.

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If you want more advice, please ask a question or visit our forum.

Otherwise, please get in touch with the HiPP Baby Club.