It is advised by the Lullaby Trust, that parents should always place their baby on their back when going to sleep. This is to reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
At present, the NHS does not know what causes SIDS (or cot death) but research has found that placing a baby on its back to sleep drastically reduces the risk of SIDS compared to them sleeping in their tummy or side.
This advice is relevant to all babies, but most importantly newborn to six months old. Once babies reach six months, they begin to turn and wriggle more. So, if you place your baby to sleep on their back but wake up to find them on their tummy, don’t panic. Simply turn them over and lay them back down on their back.
There is no need to use any type of equipment to keep your baby in one position unless advised to do so by a health professional. The Lullaby Trust recommends having a clear cot containing a firm mattress with a waterproof protector. It is also advised to use a new mattress for each baby using the cot. So, if you’re buying one from a friend or family member, make sure you purchase a new mattress before laying your baby in it.
When placing your baby down to sleep, be sure to avoid bulky duvets and blankets, especially during summer months. Instead, opt for thin cotton sheets and layer them up to as many as you need. Be sure to tuck them underneath your baby’s arms or up to their shoulders, keeping their head well above the sheets.
Firmly tuck the sheets underneath the mattress, ensuring your baby is placed at the bottom of their crib or basket. That way if they shuffle up in the night, bedding won’t follow them and cover their face and airways.
Alternatively, consider using a baby sleeping bag that comes over their shoulders and away from their face. Be sure to select a low tog as babies cannot regulate their temperature like adults can and being too hot is much more dangerous than being too cold.
Some parents worry about placing their baby on their back to sleep because of the risk of choking on vomit or milk. However, research has found this not to be true as intuition takes over and the baby turns their head to be sick over their shoulder.
For more information click here to visit Lullaby Trust.
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