Preventing Cot Death

Preventing cot death


Cot death (also known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – SIDS) is the sudden and unexpected death of a baby for no obvious reason. Most cot deaths occur when baby is under six months of age and can happen anywhere, not necessarily in a cot. It has also been found that the risk of cot death is higher in boys, premature babies and those of low birth weight. Cot death is also more common in cold weather, though the reasons for this are not yet fully understood.


The Risk Factors

Cot death doesn’t usually happen in babies of one year old. It is most common between one and two months and the risk reduces as the baby gets older, with 90% of cot deaths happening in babies under six months.

Though cot death can affect anyone, it is less common in Asian families – and doctors really don’t know why. There is also a higher rate of occurrence in less-privileged families. The other risk factors are:

  • Born prematurely – before 37 weeks
  • Low birth weight – less than 2.5 Kg
  • Being one of a set of twins or multiples
  • Having a brother or sister who died of SIDS

    Ways To Reduce The Risk

    Though it is not possible to prevent cot death completely, here are a few ways in which you can reduce the risk:

  • Always place babies on their back to sleep
  • Keep baby’s head uncovered – by tucking the bedding in no higher than the shoulders
  • Make sure the feet rests at the foot of the bed, to stop baby from wriggling down under the covers
  • Bedding should be firm – use a firm, flat mattress that is clean and fits the cot well without gaps at the edges
  • Do not smoke during pregnancy or allow anyone to smoke around your baby
  • Don’t fall asleep with your baby on the sofa or in an armchair
  • Don’t share your bed with your baby if you or your partner: smoke, have been drinking alcohol, are taking medication or drugs that causes drowsiness, are excessively tired, or if your baby was premature or was small at birth
  • Put your baby’s cot in your bedroom for the first six months
  • Apply the same measures when your baby sleeps during the day
  • Putting your baby to sleep with a dummy – even for naps – can reduce the risk of cot death

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