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Safer sleeping advice for parents and carers of young babies

Over the last decade, the rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), commonly known as cot death, has increased by 4% in the region compared to a 33% decrease across the UK.

Most deaths happen during the first six months of a baby’s life and infants born prematurely or with a low birth weight are at greater risk.

SIDS usually occurs when a baby is asleep, although it can occasionally happen while they're awake.

Parents and carers can help reduce the risk of SIDS by following safer sleeping advice.

Things you can do

  • The safest place for your baby to sleep is a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first six months, even during the day
  • Babies should always be placed on their back to sleep and not on their front or side
  • Keep your baby smoke-free during pregnancy – for help with quitting visit Smokefree Norfolk 
  • Always use a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in good condition
  • It is safe for twins to share the same sleep surface, eg being in a cot together as long as all safe sleeping principles are followed
  • Think about how furniture is arranged - keep baby’s cot away from radiators and windows with blinds, and ensure all blind cords and electrical cabling in the house are tied back 

Things to avoid

  • Never sleep on a sofa or in an armchair with your baby even during the day
  • Don’t sleep in the same bed as your baby if you or your partner smoke, drink, take drugs or are extremely tired, or if your baby was born prematurely or of low birth weight
  • Avoid letting your baby get too hot
  • Don’t cover your baby’s face or head while sleeping or use loose bedding
  • Don’t be tempted to change your routine when away from home. Plan ahead and make sure your baby has somewhere safe to sleep when on holiday or staying with friends and family - in a cot, travel cot or Moses basket in the same room as you
  • The safest cot is a clear cot - make sure your cot has no pillows, soft toys, loose bedding or bumpers (cot bumpers have caused babies to be entangled in the ties or to have fallen from pulling themselves up on the bumpers)

Further information

  • Visit the Just One Norfolk website for further information and guidance on safe sleep for babies
  • Call Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or text Parentline on 07520 631590. Opening hours are 8am - 6pm Monday-Friday (excluding Bank Holidays) and 9am - 1pm on Saturday
  • Visit The Lullaby Trust website for safer sleeping advice

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