How to Create a Safe Sleep Environment for Your Baby


Unfortunately, the reasons why some babies die suddenly from something known as 'sudden infant death syndrome' (SIDS) are usually unknown. It is known, however, that placing your baby on their back to sleep reduces their risk of SIDS. Exposing a baby to cigarette smoke, co-sleeping, or letting your baby overheat, increases the risk of SIDS. If you have any concerns, head to the NHS website for more detailed information about what you can and can't do to ensure your baby sleeps safely.

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What Can I Do to Keep My Baby Safe?

Although SIDS is rare, there are things you can do according to the NHS42, that significantly reduces the risk:

  • Don’t expose your baby to cigarette smoke during pregnancy or after birth.
  • It’s not considered safe for babies to sleep on their side or stomach when newborn. Once your baby starts to roll over however, there is no need to worry if they roll off their back while sleeping.
  • Keep your baby in your room, in their cot or Moses basket, for the first six months.
  • You should keep the room where your baby sleeps between 16 and 20°C.
  • Don’t let your baby overheat because of too much bedding or clothing. Use room thermometers to gauge the tog sleepsuit they should be wearing, if any.
  • Keep toys, pillows, blankets, bumpers, and mobiles away and out of reach from baby's sleep environment to prevent suffocation.
  • Breastfeeding for at least the first two months, halves the risk of SIDS.
  • Some research suggests using a dummy may reduce the risk of SIDS43.
  • Use a good, firm, completely flat, waterproof mattress with no raised or cushioned sides.
  • Do not fall asleep next to your baby, or with them on your lap on a chair or sofa.
  • Do not co-sleep if you smoke, drink, take drugs, or are extremely tired, as there is an increased risk you can roll over whilst asleep and suffocate your baby. The risks of co-sleeping increase if your baby was premature or had a low birth weight.
  • Never cover the baby’s face or head while they are sleeping. To stop your baby wriggling under the covers, place them in the 'feet to foot' position at the base of their cot44.
  • If using a cushioned sleeping nest or pod, do not allow your baby to fall asleep. The raised cushions can be a suffocation hazard.
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