Although the number of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) cases has decreased dramatically since the 1990s, the current trend, both in Australia and overseas, reflects an increase in deaths associated with babies in unsafe sleeping environments e.g. co-sleeping situations, u-shaped pillows in the sleeping environment and dangling curtain and blind cords. These types of deaths are preventable.
It has been proven over the last 20 years that targeted parent education campaigns, providing simple strategies such as sleeping infants on their backs, can result in extremely successful outcomes in the reduction of deaths such as those attributed to SIDS.
To provide a safe sleeping environment for young children under 2 years of age:
- Sleep them on their back from birth, never on the tummy or side. An easy to remember message is: Back to sleep, tummy to play, sit up to watch the world
- Sleep them with their feet at the bottom of the cot.
- Make sure their head and face remains uncovered during sleep. An infant sleeping bag that is the correct size and weight for the season, with a fitted neck, arm holes and no hood, is a safe and effective way to keep a baby's head and face uncovered during sleep. Using an infant sleeping bag does away with the need for extra unnecessary bedding.
- Make sure the cot meets the Australian Safety Standards for Cots (AS/NZS 2172).
- Keep them away from cigarette smoke at all times, including before birth.
- Sleep them in their own cot or bassinette in the same room as the parents for the first 6 - 12 months, not in the bed with you.
- Babies need to sleep in a space of their own so they don't get too hot or get rolled on.
- Use a firm, clean mattress that fits the cot snugly.
- Make sure that no additional mattresses or extra padding are placed in cots, including porta cots.
- Tuck in bedding securely, so that it is not loose and could cover their face.
- Keep quilts, doonas, duvets, pillows, cot bumpers, sheepskins and soft toys out of the cot or bassinette.
- Keep the cot or bassinette away from curtain/blind cords - young children have been strangled by dangling curtain and blind cords.
- Don't let them sleep on couches, bean bags, pillows or even baby capsules placed on the floor.
For further information contact:
Back to sleep, tummy to play, sit up to watch the world.