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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

WHAT IS SIDS?

SIDS stands for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or Cot/Crib Death. It is the sudden, unexpected and unexplained death of a baby during sleep. SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants from 1 month to 1 year old. It remains unpredictable despite years of research.

ALL BABIES NEED PROTECTIONS:

SIDS can happen to any baby.

It happens more to babies:

  • under six months of age
  • born premature or a low birth weight
  • in smoking families
  • with very young mothers
  • in families with not much support

PROTECTION IS IMPORTANT

IN FAMILIES

Protection starts in families. Young people need families to prepare them to care for a child and to support them to do what is best.

IN PREGNANCY

The best protection comes when pregnancy is smoke free. Smoking less can help a lot, too.

IN SLEEP

SIDS happen when babies sleep. These things become even more important for babies who have extra risks due to smoking, prematurity or low birth weight.

BACK IS BEST

Babies are safest from SIDS when they sleep on their backs. The back is twice as safe as the side and six times safer than the front.

WHAT ABOUT CHOKING?

Sleeping babies are not unconscious. They protect their airways with reflexes such as gagging and swallowing. Studies show that these reflexes are stronger when babies sleep face up.

A CLEAR FACE IS IMPORTANT

A baby’s face and head are important for breathing and cooling. The face and head need to stay clear and not get covered during sleep.

WHAT ABOUT FLAT HEADS?

A baby’s soft skull can change shape from too much time spent resting on the same spot. Gently turning the head each sleep to vary the resting spot will prevent the head from changing shape.

BACK IS BEST BECAUSE IT GIVES:

  • best protection from SIDS (cot death)
  • best chance to breathe easily
  • best chance to protect the airways
  • best chance to cool if a baby gets too hot
  • best position to prevent rolling to the front
  • best position to prevent slipping under covers
  • best view on waking

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