Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death of a baby during the first 12 months of its life. Risk factors include, among others, sleeping on the stomach, parents who smoke, overheating and a too soft mattress.
Causes and treatment
The causes are mostly unclear, but some risk factors have been identified:
- Sleeping on the stomach
- Parents who smoke
- Child is too warm while sleeping
- The mattress is too soft, too many soft toys (can obstruct breathing)
- Sleeping in the same bed as the parents
Sudden infant death (cot death) is always diagnosed by a process of elimination: only when all other possible causes have been ruled out can cot death be diagnosed.
What can I do myself?
The following measures can help minimise the risk of sudden infant death:
- Place babies on their back to sleep
- Use a firm mattress
- Let babies sleeping in their own bed (rather than the parents’)
- Smoke-free environment (already during pregnancy)
- Do not let babies get too hot
- Bedroom temperature of 18 degrees
- Do not use blankets that are too warm
- Do not cover the baby's head while sleeping
- Do not use lambskin padding etc. in the bed