Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) (or cot death as it is also known) is the sudden unexpected and unexplained death of a baby aged between 4 weeks – 1 year. It generally happens when a baby is asleep in its sleep environment.
In 2013 in Australia 117 babies died suddenly, and of those deaths 54 were identified as SIDS. Despite these deaths, SIDS is rare and the risk of your baby dying from it is low.
The cause of SIDS is unknown but the risks can be reduced by:
- Using a cot that meets Australian and New Zealand standards AS/NZS 2172:2003, and not co-sleeping with your baby or on a sofa, armchair or letting them sleep in a rocker
- Not smoking whilst pregnant or after the baby is born, and not letting your baby be in an area where someone else is smoking
- Keeping all toys, blankets (tucked in half way down the body is ok), pillows away from where the baby is sleeping.
- Practise safe wrapping techniques or use a sleep suit to keep your baby nice and snug. Red Nose has a great brochure on safe wrapping
- Not putting a baby to sleep on its tummy or side
- Keeping the area where your baby is sleeping nice and cool, and not too hot
- Keeping your baby in your room where you can keep an eye on them when they are very young
- Breastfeeding your baby, whilst this is not always possible this is another practise that is potentially shown to reduce the risk of SIDS
- Not letting your baby sleep in an area near to pets or other children
- If you have any concerns whatsoever do not hesitate to speak to your Obstetrician to discuss further.
For more information about SIDS visit the Red Nose website (formerly SIDS and Kids)