Tizzie Hall, author of the bestselling ‘Save Our Sleep’ book series is passionate about preventing cases of babies who die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Sudden Unexpected Death in Infants (SUDI).
SIDS typically happens when baby is found dead after being put to bed, showing no signs of illness or other cause. On the other hand, SUDI occurs as a result of suffocation in the cot.
With the aim of making sure that babies are safe when they sleep, Tizzie offers the following 5 tips to help parents reduce the risk of cot death in their babies.
1. Make sure your baby is sleeping in a safe cot
Increasingly, parents in Singapore are choosing to co-sleep with their little ones. Tizzie says that this can be very dangerous if the bed isn’t set up properly. Parents who choose to co-sleep should talk to a health professional about setting up the bed safely.
She also recommends that babies sleep in a cot next to their parent’s bed so that they are in a safe sleeping environment, and can still be close to their mothers for feeds.
2. Find a spot with good ventilation
When setting up your baby’s cot in your room, make sure that it is in a spot that gets lots of air circulation. For this reason, the cot should not be placed against the wall.
3. Use a good quality mattress
Tizzie recommends that parents use a mattress with inner springs for their baby’s cot – and take it through the ‘safe hand test’. To do this, press your hand down on the mattress, and then lift your hand up. If you can see where your hand was, the mattress is not safe for your baby to sleep in. Mattresses that are safe should not have any mark at the spot where you pressed your hand down earlier.
4. Keep your home smoke-free
Mums-to-be are encouraged not to smoke during pregnancy for the sake of their baby’s health. This same theory should apply once baby is born as well, to create a safe environment for baby to live and sleep in – and minimise the risk of suffocation.
5. Make sure your baby sleeps on his/her back
Babies should always be put to sleep on their back with enough bedding so that they are warm enough to stay in this position throughout the entire sleep cycle. According to Tizzie, babies who feel cold will have a tendency to roll onto their tummy (once they are able to roll over). When that happens, they will sleep face down on the mattress which increases the risk of SUDI, as they keep rebreathing the same stale air.
So, parents should always make sure that their babies sleep on their back – and that they are kept warm at all times. To keep baby warm, don’t use blankets, use a sleeping bag instead. A baby can suffocate from loose bedding like blankets.
Click on the next page to check out the gallery on choosing the right sleeping bag to keep your baby warm and safe.