- Always put your baby to sleep in the 'Back to Sleep' and 'Feet to Foot' position
- Babies aren't good at keeping their temperature constant, so make sure they don't get too hot or too cold
- Make sure your baby's cot is a safe and secure place to sleep
- Keep smoke away from your baby
'Back to Sleep'
Unless told otherwise by health professionals, your baby should always be put to sleep on their back. This has been shown to be highly significant in ensuring babies' safety during sleep. Never let your baby fall asleep propped up on a cushion on a sofa or chair and don't let anyone fall asleep whilst nursing your baby.
The safest place
A well-designed and stable cot in your own room is by far the safest place for your baby to sleep in their first six months. Keep it simple and tidy, do not use plastic sheets, bumpers, baby nests, wedges, bedding rolls or any ribbons or mobiles that your baby could get caught up in. The mattress should be firm, flat and clean and have a secure waterproof covering. Cover the mattress with a clean sheet and make sure there are no gaps between the mattress and the sides of the cot as your baby could slip or become caught.
Babies can overheat, this can play a part in cot death. Try to keep the room between 16 and 20 degrees centigrade. Until your baby is one year old do not use duvets, quilts or pillows. Instead give your baby one more light layer of clothing or bedding that you are wearing. Never use hot water bottles or electric blankets and always position your baby in the "Feet to Foot" position, with their feet at the foot of the cot so that they can't move down inside their blanket. Avoid covering your baby's face or head indoors.
Where should your baby sleep?
If you take a restless baby into your bed, avoid any medication or drugs that may make you sleep more heavily than usual, including alcohol. It is not advisable to have your baby sleeping in your bed with you. REMEMBER that when sleeping next to you, your baby will be warmer anyway; so if they fall asleep under your duvet they will be TOO HOT. Parents who fall asleep with their baby's on a sofa put their baby at an increased risk of cot death, so too if they fall asleep with their baby whilst under the influence of alcohol, take medication or drugs that make them more sleepy or smoke.
Never let anyone smoke near your baby and if you or your partner smoke, you should try to give up now for your child's sake.
If your baby seems unwell or if you have any worries about safe sleeping or cot death, get medical advice at once.
Source: Redbridge Parenting Handbook (Local Safeguarding Children Board 2006)