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  • Cot death is more frequent in families who live in difficult circumstances or who smoke a lot.
  • Cot death is uncommon in Asian families, for reasons that are not yet understood.
  • Eight to nine per cent of all cot deaths in England and Wales occur among babies aged under six months.
  • Cot death has fallen in the UK by seventy-five per cent since the introduction of the government’s Reduce the Risk of Cot Death campaign in 1991.

Infant Deaths


Cot death (also called Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS) is the sudden and unexpected death of a baby for no obvious reason-a huge worry to virtually all new parents. Cot death is the leading cause of death in babies over one month old, which is why there’s so much information about it. But It is still rare: in 2003 (the latest figures) there were 344 cot deaths recorded in the UK. That’s 0.49 per 1,000 live births-a very small proportion.

HOW TO REDUCE THE RISK OF COT DEATH:

  • Stop smoking (also in pregnancy, and this goes for dads too).
  • Don’t let anyone smoke in the same room as your baby.
  • Always lay your baby on her back.
  • Don’t let your baby get too hot: if the room feels hot to you, it is to her too. Don’t put more bedding if she’s unwell-a baby with a fever needs less clothing and bedding, not more.
  • Keep your baby’s head uncovered-put her feet at the foot of the cot , so she can’t wriggle down under the covers and get them over her head.
  • It’s safest to sleep with your baby in a cot in your bedroom for the first six  or have a baby monitor.
  • It’s dangerous to share a bed with your baby if you or your partner:

Feel very tired

  • There is also a risk that you might roll over in your sleep and suffocate your baby, or that your baby could get caught between the wall and the bed, or could roll out of an adult bed and be injured.
  • Never sleep together on a sofa, armchair or settee. This increase the risk of cot death fifty times compared with sleeping a baby in a cot in your room.
  • If your baby is unwell, get medical advice as soon as you can.

IN ADDITIONAL TO THESE ESSENTIALS, ARE SOME OTHER IMPORTANT SLEEPING RULES

  • Don’t give a pillow or duvet to a baby under the age of one (pillows can smother, duvets overheat).
  • Don’t give your baby a hot water bottle or electric blanket there is a likelihood of overheating, burns and scalds.
  • Don’t let your baby fall asleep propped up on a cushion on a sofa or armchair (she could fall off, even if she’s very teeny).
  • Make sure the mattress fit the cot with no gaps (your baby could fall through, or get trapped or hurt).
  • The temperature of your baby’s room should be about 16-20 degree C (61-68 degree F)

TO CHECK THAT YOUR BABY IS AT THE RIGHT TEMPERATURE:

  • Touch her skin-the belly or black is best-to see if it feels hotter or colder than your skin.
  • Give her one more layer of clothing (or bedding) than you’re wearing.
  • If the room feels hot to you, keep her clothes and beddings light. in the hot summer she may only need a Babygro and a sheet.
  • Don’t get obsessed-just use your common sense.

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