Keeping your baby’s head and face uncovered during sleep reduces the risk of sudden and unexpected death, including SIDS.
“This is because it reduces the risk of overheating and suffocation from head coverings slipping down over your baby’s face,” explains Jane Wiggill, Red Nose’s Chief Midwife.
This includes removing bonnets, beanies, hats, hoodies or hooded clothing for sleep.
And, did you know your baby regulates their temperature through their face and head?
“Research has linked the risks of SIDS to overheating, and overheating can be caused by room heating, high body temperature, and excessive clothing or bedding,” Jane says.
“Placing your baby on their back and keeping their head and face uncovered for sleep is the best protection from overheating and suffocation, and therefore reduces the risk of SIDS.”
You can reduce the risk of accidental head and face covering caused by bedding, by making sure their feet are at the bottom of the cot so they can’t wriggle and slip down under the blankets.
Or, Jane says, you may decide to not use blankets at all, and instead, use a safe sleeping bag.
“If using a sleep bag, make sure it is one with a fitted neck and arm holes, arms free and no hood,” Jane says.
When putting your baby to sleep, check that:
- Your baby’s feet are positioned at the bottom of the cot
- Bedclothes are at the level of the chest and tucked in securely so bedding is not loose, or alternatively place your baby in a safe sleeping bag. If using a sleep bag, you don’t need blankets or sheets
- Head coverings are removed before a baby is put down for their sleep
- There are no doonas, quilts, loose bedding or fabric, pillows, lambs’ wool, bumpers or soft toys in the cot
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