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Baby asleep in cot

Safer sleeping

Know the risks and help reduce sudden infant deaths.

Where is the safest place for your baby to sleep?

The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a crib or cot in a room with you for the first six months.

The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) has identified key risk factors associated with co-sleeping if you are a parent or carer who:

  • is a smoker, even if they never smoke in bed or in the home;
  • has been drinking alcohol;
  • has taken medication or drugs that make them drowsy; or
  • feels very tired;

or if your baby:

  • was low birth weight (less than 2.5kgs or 5 ½ lbs); or
  • was premature (born before 37 weeks gestation).

(Co-sleeping describes a baby sharing their parent’s bed, or sleeping with a parent on a sofa or chair. A parent represents anyone caring for the baby.)

FSID has stated that parents and carers should be advised never to sleep with a baby on a sofa or in an armchair.

Don’t forget, accidents can happen too:

You might roll over in your sleep and suffocate your baby, or your baby could get caught between the wall and the bed, or could roll out of your bed and be injured.

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Where can I find out further information?

Further information can be found at the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths website including the Safest Place For A Baby To Sleep leaflet; this can be accessed at:

FSID - Safest Place For A Baby To Sleep (external website) 

Copies of this leaflet are available in Kurdish; Polish; Chinese; Punjabi; Urdu; Gujarati; Russian; French; Arabic; and Portuguese.

You can download a Caring For Your Baby At Night leaflet below:

Caring For Your Baby At Night (pdf 2.7mb opens in a new window)

You can download a Reduce The Risk Of Cot Death Leaflet below:

Reduce The Risk Of Cot Death (pdf 671kb opens in a new window)

For breast feeding mothers, the Off to the Best Start leaflet can be downloaded below:

Off to the Best Start (pdf 572kb opens in a new window)

Bereavement support and safer sleeping

The Lullaby Trust provides specialist support for bereaved families, promotes expert advice on safer baby sleep and raises awareness on sudden infant death. They run an information line for parents and professionals (0808 802 6869) and a dedicated line for bereaved families (0808 802 6868). Both are free to call from landlines and mobiles.

Lullaby Trust (external website)

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