To protect your baby from SUDI, you should follow the following six essential conditions. This is particularly important in the first six months.
Baby is smoke-free.
If not smoke-free, baby always sleeps in ‘a baby bed’.
Baby sleeps on their back.
Baby sleeps with a clear face and head.
Baby sleeps in the same room as me when I am also asleep.
Baby is breastfed.
Develop your baby’s ‘wake up’ response that protects their breathing. This response is weakened by:
smoking (especially in pregnancy)
baby being premature
baby sleeping on the tummy
baby being formula-fed
baby being unwell.
Babies weakened in these ways are more at risk of sudden infant death. Smoking weakens babies most of all.
Position is essential to survival for babies in their first 6 months. They need to lie flat and on their backs when they sleep. Newborn babies have large heads, short necks, large tongues, and loose jaws, and only breathe through their noses.
Together these factors may create risk if a baby’s head falls forward or is pushed forward by pillows. They may slump into a ‘chin to chest’ position, cut off their airway and suffocate.
A baby-safe sleeping environment is set up to safeguard a baby’s breathing and protect them from suffocation hazards.
Hazards for a young baby can be pillows, soft surfaces, couches, chairs, loose bedding, tight wrapping, side and front positions, being propped up, other people in the bed, and makeshift arrangements. In a baby-safe sleeping environment, a baby breathes freely throughout each sleep. They are lying on their back, in a baby bed or sleep space that is free from suffocation hazards, and a responsible caregiver is close by (in the same room if the adult is also sleeping).