Bringing a new baby home involves a lot of sleepless nights and worry, but establishing some important Safe Sleeping routines from early on will help ease your concerns and minimize the risks of sleeping accidents or SIDS.
SIDS is the sudden unexpected death of an infant under one year of age that cannot be explained after a thorough investigation, including an autopsy. It is the leading cause of death in infants between one month and one year of age in Australia. The term SUDI or Sudden Unexpected Deaths in infancy includes all cases of SIDS and any fatal sleeping accident.
SIDS and Kids have put forward some Safe Sleeping guidelines for parents which are straight-forward and easy to understand. Here are six ways to sleep baby safely and reduce the risk of sudden and unexpected death in infancy:
- Sleep baby on the back from birth, not on the tummy or side
- Sleep baby with head and face uncovered
- Keep baby smoke free before birth and after
- Provide a safe sleeping environment night and day
- Sleep baby in their own safe sleeping place in the same room as an adult care-giver for the first six to twelve months
- Breastfeed baby
Providing a safe sleeping environment night and day is often an area which causes confusion to new parents, with many products still available which are not recommended. SIDS and Kids guidelines to provide a safe sleeping environment are:
- Safe Sleeping environment night and day
- Choose a safe cot which meets Australian Standard AS2172, currently there is no Australian Standard for a bassinet, so baby sleeping in a cot in your bedroom would be safer
- Ensure a safe mattress which is firm, clean, flat and right size for cot
- Tuck blankets in firmly or use a safe baby sleeping bag, with fitted neck and armholes, no hood
- Do not use a pillow, cot bumper, lamb’s wool, soft toy or doona in the cot day or night, younger babies can overheat or suffocate and older babies can use them as a step to climb up and out of the cot causing a trip or fall accident
If your baby has a cold, it’s tempting to keep them warm by overwrapping/dressing them. However, it’s important not to overheat baby – normal layers of clothes or a sleeping bag will suffice. If your baby is overly warm to touch, irritable, unwell or refusing to drink, please take your baby to see a Health Professional.
Many parents find that bringing their baby into their bed helps them to care for their baby at night. So, it is very important to think about ways to help keep your baby safe while co-sleeping to reduce the risk of sudden infant death. For information about Safe Co-Sleeping with your baby, please read this leaflet by the Australian Breastfeeding Association: Bed-Sharing and Your Baby – The Facts. The Australian Breastfeeding Association has some great information and tips for safe sleeping and breastfeeding. To read more, please visit their website HERE.
SIDS and Kids is an Australian community-based organisation dedicated to saving the lives of babies and children during pregnancy, birth, infancy and childhood and to supporting bereaved families. For more information about SIDS and KIDS, you can visit their website HERE.
For more information or to make an appointment with our midwife, Georgina, please Contact Us.