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Prevention/reducing risk of SIDS

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Advice to parent (s) to reduce the risk of cot death:

  • place your baby on the back to sleep, in a cot in a room with you
  • cut smoking in pregnancy – fathers too
  • do not let anyone smoke in the same room as your baby
  • do not let your baby get too hot
    • keep the room temperature as close to 18 degrees C as possible
    • keep your baby’s head uncovered – place your baby in the “feet to foot” position
  • do not share a bed with your baby if you have been drinking alcohol, take drugs or if you are a smoker
    • safest place for your baby to sleep is in a cot in a room with you for the first six months. If you share a bed with your baby the risks are particularly increased if you or your partner:
      • are smokers (no matter where or when you smoke and even if you never smoke in bed);
      • have recently drunk alcohol;
      • have taken medication or drugs that make you sleep more heavily;
      • are very tired
      • OR
        • if your baby was premature (born before 37 weeks);
        • was low birth weight (less than 2.5kg or 5 1/2 lb);
        • is under three months old
  • if your baby is unwell, seek prompt advice

Note that cardiac and respiratory monitoring equipment may be recommended to parents of an infant, with a history of a previous child dying of SIDS.


  1. Department of Health (UK). Reduce the risk of cot death: An easy guide (2007).

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