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Wirral University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

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Back to sleep

'Back to sleep' 'Feet to Foot' - Why is this so important?

Over the past twenty years there has been a gradual reduction in the numbers of babies suddenly dying in their cots and this has been explained by investigations into babies sleeping patterns and identified risk factors eg. baby sleeping on their front, parents sleeping with baby, smoking in baby's room.

These are the recommendations to lessen the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (when a baby dies with no cause found, SIDS).

  • Don't cover baby with extra blankets or cloths.
  • Place baby on their back with their feet at the bottom of the cot, covered by two blankets tucked in at the sides.
  • Always place baby on their back to sleep, for naps and at night.
  • Place baby on a firm mattress, safety approved and covered by a fitted sheet.
  • New baby, new mattress
  • Keep soft objects, toys and loose bedding out of your baby's sleep area.
  • Do not smoke or allow smoke around your baby.
  • Don't share your bed with your baby during sleep.
  • Keep your baby's sleep area close but separate from where you and others sleep. It is recommended for you to have your baby in a cot within your room for up to 6 months.
  • Don't allow your baby to get too hot during sleep. Have a thermometer within the room and set to 18-20'C. To check your baby's temperature feel his tummy which should be warm to touch, not hot.
  • Avoid too much time in car seats, bouncers and carriers.
  • Provide tummy time to avoid flattened areas on baby's head. This also promotes normal development and tone in the baby's shoulders and thighs.
  • Observe baby clearing his airway by turning his head and trying to crawl. Consider doing this at each nappy change.
  • Tummy time should only be when baby is awake and when someone is observing the baby.
  • Discuss use of baby monitors as these on their own will not reduce the risk of SIDS.

The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) is the UK's leading baby charity working to prevent sudden deaths and promote health. www.sids.org.uk

Further information provided by the Department of Health on reducing the risk of cot death.