Every year, we hear tragic stories about babies who’ve suffocated in their beds. Yet these awful accidents don’t need to happen. When it comes to putting our baby to bed, there are some simple measures we can take to ensure our children are safe. That way, we can all sleep better at night.
- Putting babies at the bottom of the cot (so their feet touch the end) can stop them squirming down and suffocating under bedding.
- Cot bumpers can do far more harm than good. Not only can the ribbon strangle kids, the bumper itself can be used by children to climb out of the cot. All-in-all, you’re better off without them.
- Never use a pillow with a baby less than 12 months old, there is no benefit to baby and it could cause suffocation.
"He’s too young to be left on his own so we’re always with him... until he’s finally in bed.”
Owen, Alden’s Dad
- While we know it’s impossible to watch a child all the time, you should still never leave a baby unattended on a raised surface, such as a bed. It only takes a moment for them to roll off, and the results can be devastating.
- Electric blankets or hot water bottles can be bad news for babies. If you are worried about the cot being too cold you could use one that is removed before the baby goes in.
- Babies who overheat are at an increased risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). They can get too hot because the room is too hot, or because they have too much bedding or clothing. The ideal room temperature is between 16 and 20ºC.
- The best way to keep babies safe when they’re sleeping is in a cot of their own. Some babies have been accidentally suffocated by their parents while co-sleeping/bed-sharing. The risk increases if you’ve been drinking alcohol, smoking or taking drugs, or if your baby was born prematurely.
- Because of the risk of suffocation, use blankets or a lightweight sleeping bag (without a hood) for children under 12 months old, rather than a duvet or quilt.