Putting your baby to bed - safe sleeping

22208 Dr Fysh - Dec 03, 2015

There are a few important things to remember when it comes to your baby’s sleep. First of all make sure you get the right kind of cot, and second, follow the simple guidelines on safe sleeping once your baby has been born.


The right cot

All cots sold in the United Kingdom must conform to British Safety Standard BSEN716. Make sure any cot you are considering buying has this label. The standard ensures that the cot is deep enough, does not have any cut-outs and has bars that are between 45mm and 65mm apart. The standards are aimed at making sure your baby cannot fall out of the cot or get their head stuck between the bars.

If you are considering a second-hand cot make sure the bars are the recommended distance apart – between 45mm and 65mm. Check that the mattress is clean and fits the cot perfectly. Any spaces could be dangerous if your baby gets stuck in them. Consider getting a new mattress if there is any sign of wear and tear or if the fit is not snug. Make sure, too, that there are no decorative cut-outs in the headboard or footboard that the baby could get arms or legs stuck in. 



Safe sleeping

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden and unexplained death of a baby where no cause is found.  While SIDS is rare, it can still happen and there are steps parents can take to help reduce the chance of this occurring. 

We do not fully understand what causes unexplained deaths in young children but we are learning how to reduce the chances of it happening.

The Lullaby Trust is a charity that provides specialist support for bereaved families, and promotes expert advice on safer baby sleep, raising awareness on sudden infant death. These are the simple steps it recommends parents take to ensure safe sleeping:


Do this:

- Always place your baby on their back to sleep

- Avoid smoking during pregnancy and after the birth

- Place your baby to sleep in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first six months

- Breastfeed your baby, if you can

- Use a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in good condition


Avoid this:

- Never sleep on a sofa or an armchair with your baby

- Don’t sleep in the same bed as your baby if you smoke, drink, take drugs or are extremely tired, if your baby was of low birth weight or was born prematurely

- Avoid letting your baby get too hot

- Don’t cover your baby’s face or head while sleeping or use loose bedding

- Don’t have pillows, soft bedding, cot bumpers or soft toys in the cot while the baby is sleeping


Other tips

Help your baby to sleep safely by keeping the room between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius. Keep the cot out of direct sunshine, away from windows, radiators and lamps.  

Make sure there is no furniture next to the cot which might help your baby climb out of it. Ensure there are no dangling cords near the cot which could present a strangulation risk. Either get rid of them completely or safely tie them up well out of reach.

When your baby is able to stand up in the cot make sure the mattress is in the lowest position. When the top rail is below your baby’s chest it is time to move out of the cot and into a bed. 


Remember: SIDS is rare and, while it does still happen, the chances of it occurring are very low especially if you follow the most up to date advice.

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About Dr Fysh

Dr Fysh

Dr Fysh is one of the country’s leading consultant paediatricians, currently a consultant at The Portland Hospital for Women and Children, and a Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health and the Royal College of Physicians. Having experienced first-hand the suffering caused by serious medical conditions to babies and young children and the emotional and financial strain that this can place on parents on a daily basis. He joined the board of directors as Chief Medical Officer and has been instrumental in the building of the NurtureFirst product. 

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