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Safe sleeping; how to create the safest environment for your sleeping baby

Updated: Mar 8, 2020

It’s not known what causes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), but experts have prepared these guidelines to help prevent against it;

1. Sleeping equipment:

Baby should sleep in a cot, crib or Moses basket with a brand new mattress that is flat, firm and waterproof. Less is more, keep the cot clear from toys, bumpers and any lose objects, a fitted sheet should be the only item in your baby’s cot. Sleeping in car seats or other equipment is not recommended for long periods of time.

2. Sleeping position:

Babies must be placed on their back, until they are old enough to roll back to front and front to back themselves. In this position they are less likely to choke. Baby’s feet should be at the foot of the cot to prevent them from wriggling down under blankets.

3. Room:

Share a room with your baby for at least the first 6 months. Room temperature should between 16-20 Degrees Celsius. Position the cot away from any windows and heaters to avoid overheating or baby getting cold.

4. Clothing and blankets.

Dress your baby lightly and comfortably in a one piece sleep-suit, free from hoods and ribbons. It’s best to avoid blankets, but if you chose to use them, go for a cotton cellular one firmly tucked in and no higher than shoulders. Ideally use a baby sleeping bag. Do not use a quilt or pillow until your baby is at least a year old.

5. Swaddling:

If you choose to swaddle your baby, make sure you use thin material and don’t swaddle above the shoulders. Unsure not to swaddle too tightly and regularly check baby’s temperature to insure they don’t overheat.

6. Breastfeeding and dummies.

One of the strongest ways to prevent SIDS is to breast feed your baby, even for a short period. Several studies suggest that breastfeeding reduces SIDS risk because it has many health benefits and produces the hormone serotonin which reduced stress levels in the baby. Sucking on a dummy may also prevent SIDS.

7. Smoking:

Do not smoke during pregnancy or let anyone smoke in the same room as baby. Babies born to women who smoked during pregnancy are three times more likely to die from SIDS than nonsmokers.

8. Vaccination:

Not only do vaccines protect your baby’s health, evidence shows that vaccinated babies are at a lower risk of SIDS.

9. Tummy time:

Give your baby plenty of tummy time when awake to help strengthen their neck, shoulders and arms.

10. Breathing monitors and wedges:

Except if your child has a diagnosed heart or respiratory disease, using an electronic breathing monitor doesn't protect against SIDS, studies show it might actually give parents a misinformed sense of security. Also, steer clear from wedged sleep positioners used to keep your child on her back. A baby can slide off and suffocate against it.

11. Honey:

The consumption of honey is a risk factor of Botulism in infants. Botulism and the bacteria that cause it may be linked to SIDS. It’s not recommended for children to have honey until they are a year old.

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