Safety of your baby – Prevention of cot death

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What is Cot Death mean? (SIDS)

with a few simple steps you can help minimize the chances of your baby dying from Cot Death. Cot Death is the term used for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) which is defined as a sudden and unexplained death of an infant usually of less than one year old. All other possible causes of death are ruled out and the unexplained death is termed SIDS. This can occur anywhere and not only in a cot.

No single cause has been indicated, though there are several suggestions to help prevention.

Which Babies are Most at Risk?

Cot death is not common in babies who are under one month old. It is most common between one and two months. The risk reduces as the baby gets older, with 90 per cent of cot deaths happening in babies under six months.

There are other factors that you can’t change that put a baby at a higher risk of cot death. These include:

your baby is a boy – cot death is slightly more common in boys: almost 60 per cent of cot deaths are in boys
your baby born prematurely before 37 weeks)
your babyborn at a low birth weight (less than 2.5kg/5lb 8oz)
your baby one of set of twins or other multiple births

On Back to Sleep

Place baby on his/her back when laying down to sleep

NEVER place baby on his/her tummy

Comfortable Temperature

Avoid excess bedding
Keep room at reasonable temperature
Keep baby’s head uncovered
No pillows
Make sure cot is not close to heaters or in direct sunlight
Check babies tummy to gauge temperature. Baby’s hands and feet will usually be cooler and don’t reflect true temperature of baby
Keep baby at bottom of cot to avoid wriggling under covers

Bed Sharing

Do not fall asleep with baby in your bed or on a chair
Make sure each baby has their own bed – no sharing!

Do not Smoking

Cot death is more common in babies of mothers who smoked or who were exposed to smoke when pregnant and in babies who are exposed to smoke themselves.

Using a Dummy

Some studies have shown that giving a baby dummy when she goes to sleep, even for a nap can reduce the risk of cot death.
Don’t worry if the dummy falls out while the baby is asleep. You shouldn’t force the baby to take a dummy if he/she doesn’t want one.
Always remember to sterilise the dummy daily.

Soft Toys

Avoid crowding the cot with soft toys.

The baby Cot

The cot should always have a clean and firm mattress.
There should be a safe gap between the wooden partitions.
There should be no toys with small parts or hanging mobiles which are unsafe to the baby which he/she could get hold of.

Signs and symptoms of Illness

Most cot deaths occur ‘out from the blue’ once the child is asleep. You will find usually no signs and symptoms to alert parents or carers that anything is wrong. However, sometimes a disease isn’t recognised and rapidly will get worse. Visit a physician in case your baby seems unwell. Make use of your instincts – you realize best if something is wrong. This list is another help guide to the primary signs and symptoms to look for.

Vomiting, especially bile (eco-friendly) vomit

Takes less liquids (milk feed) and/or makes less urine than normal

High pitched or unusual cry

Sleepiness, floppiness or fewer responsive than normal

Wheezy, grunting, fast or difficult breathing

High fever or sweating a great deal

Looks pale or blue

Bloodstream within the diapers


Call doctor to check if you think baby might be unwell

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