What is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome?

Reports show more than 100 babies in the UK die suddenly and unexpectedly every year in a tragic phenomenon sometimes known as "cot death."

The term Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is used to describe the sudden, unexplained death of an apparently health baby, usually within the first six months of its life.

The infants born prematurely or with a low birthweight are at greater risk, and SIDS is slightly more common among baby boys.

SIDS usually happens when a baby is asleep, which is how it came to be known as "cot death."

There can be contributing factors, such as a parent smoking, a minor illness or breathing obstruction.

There is also a link between co-sleeping and SIDs. Doctors recommend not sharing a bed with your baby.

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Tips for ways parents can reduce the risk of SIDS include:

Do not smoke while pregnant or after your baby is born

Do not sleep on a bed, sofa or armchair with your baby especially if either you or your partner smoke, drink or take drugs

Do not let your baby get too hold or cold. The room temperature should be 16C-20C with lightweight bedding

Place your baby on their back while they sleep

Let them sleep in the same room as you for the first six months

Ensure their sleep environment won't cause your baby to become tangled in bedding

Use a mattress that's firm, flat, waterproof and in good condition

Place your baby in the "feet to foot" position with their feet touching the end of their cot, Moses basket or pram

Keep your baby's head uncovered - their blanket should be tucked no higher than their shoulders

Breastfeed you baby if you can

If you're worried about your baby at any point, see your GP.

You need to dial the emergency numbers or call an ambulance if your baby:

Stops breathing or turns blue

Is struggling for breath

Is unconscious or seems unaware of what's going on

Will not wake up

Has a fit for the first time, even if they seem to recover.

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SIDSSudden Infant Death Syndrome