Free online course for separated parents
Forum - Ask questions. Get answers.
Free online course for separated parents | Family | Health | Your child's health | Cot death: what is it and how do we reduce the risk?

Cot death: what is it and how do we reduce the risk?



Cot death, an expression that in recent years has been replaced with the more accurate term of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), refers to the sudden and unexplained death of a baby where no obvious cause is found after a detailed post mortem


It is rare, but on average it still claims the lives of five babies every week in the UK*. Doctors and researchers don’t yet understand what causes babies to die suddenly and unexpectedly, but a great deal is now known about how to reduce the risk.

Dad Info’s ten golden rules will help you to reduce the risk…

Ten tips to reduce the risk

1. Always place your baby on their back to sleep.

2. No smoking during pregnancy and after birth – that goes for mum, dad and visitors. Make sure that your house is always smoke-free and keep baby away from smoke when out and about.

3. Don’t let your baby get too hot – young babies cannot cool themselves down easily!

4. Don’t cover your baby’s face and head when sleeping – your baby doesn’t need a hat when indoors.

5. Place your baby in the feet-to-foot position, where their little feet touch the bottom of the cot, to prevent them from wriggling under the covers in their sleep.

6. Breastfeed your baby, if you can.

7. Use a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in good condition.

8. Don’t sleep on a sofa or armchair with your baby – this can increase the chance of SIDS by up to 50 times!

9. Don’t sleep in the same bed as your baby if you smoke, drink or have taken drugs, or if your baby was born prematurely or was of low birth weight. If you decide that sharing a bed with your baby is the right decision for you and your family, make sure that you research bed-sharing thoroughly and are able to do it safely by removing anything that can become a suffocation hazard for your baby and by ensuring that your baby cannot fall off the bed or become trapped anywhere.

10. Place your baby to sleep in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first 6 months. Sharing a room with your baby can halve the risk of SIDS. Although it’s true that approximately 90% of babies whose death is recorded as SIDS are under 6 months of age, sadly, every year a small amount of older babies and toddlers also die suddenly and unexpectedly. To avoid accidents, don’t forget to remove all pillows, soft bedding, cot bumpers and soft toys from the cot.

Remember to follow the 10 golden tips for all naps too, not just for night time sleep.

If you have any further questions about SIDS and how to lower the chances of it happening, you can always get in touch with your midwife, Health Visitor or with The Lullaby Trust, who offer information and support to families about safer sleep for babies.

*Credit: Office of National Statistics, 2015, via

Related entries

Teaching Your Kids To Avoid Scams

Teaching Your Kids To Avoid Scams

Unfortunately with our kids spending so much time on their phones and online there comes the risk of being scammed. While we as adults might be wise to the tricks scammers use- Nigerian princes included- our children probably aren't. To avoid being out of pocket and...

How to talk to children about grief

How to talk to children about grief

The Queen's passing has no doubt brought up questions from children, who for the first time are encountering the loss of someone they 'knew'. While it may seem unnecessary to talk about the Queen dying with kids, this may be their first experience of death and be...

Latest entries

Are you a dad who smokes? 5 reasons why you should quit

Are you a dad who smokes? 5 reasons why you should quit

You know the risks to your own health already (you see them on the packet every time you take out a cigarette). However, did you know of the effects that smoking can have on your kids? Your kids are 4 times more likely to become smokers Research by the Better Health...

6 tips to help manage your kid’s screen time

6 tips to help manage your kid’s screen time

Screens and gaming can be both a blessing and a curse for parents; they offer kids the chance to be absorbed in an activity, but for parents this benefit can be marred by a feeling of guilt. Shouldn't kids be outside playing rather than on screens? Some of the time,...

Pin It on Pinterest