Warning to all parents of babies as new sleep guidelines published – first time since 2016

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The reason for the new advice comes amid fears over SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

Relatively rare in the UK, the condition tragically takes the lives of 196 children every year.

While its unclear why some babies succumb and other don’t, there is a bevy of advice in place to help parents reduce their precious charge’s risk.

The guidance says SIDS can be reduced by the baby sleeping on their back and avoiding bed sharing.

Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Virginia Dr Rachel Moon said: “If we’ve learnt anything, it’s that simple is best: babies should always sleep in a crib or bassinet, on their back, without soft toys, pillows, blankets, or other bedding.”

Although the temptation to share a bed with their new baby is high, experts say this can actually put the child in danger.

Professor Moon said: “The evidence is clear this significantly raises the risk of a baby’s injury or death.”

Furthermore, accoutrements of sleeping should also be avoided say experts: “Keep soft objects, such as pillows, pillow-like toys, quilts, comforters, mattress toppers, fur-like materials, and loose bedding, such as blankets and non-fitted sheets, away from the infant’s sleep area to reduce the risk of SIDS, suffocation, entrapment/wedging, and strangulation.”

What is SIDS?

SIDS is another term for a condition previously referred to as “cot death”.

It is, in short, the sudden, unexpected, and unexplained death of a healthy baby.

Most deaths from SIDS occur within the first six months of a baby’s life.

There are several factors which can increase the risk of SIDS, some in and some out of the parent’s control.

For example, an infant born prematurely or underweight will be at greater risk than a baby born on time and at a healthy weight.

Furthermore, baby boys tend to be a greater risk than baby girls.

In order to reduce their child’s risk of SIDS, there are some actions parents can take before the baby is born.

This includes not smoking while pregnant or after the baby is born and breastfeeding the baby.

Should the baby become unwell, the NHS say parents should call an ambulance if their baby:

• Stops breathing or turns blue

• Is struggling for breath

• Is unconscious or seems unaware of what’s going on

• Will not wake up

• Has a fit for the first time, even if they seem to recover.

While SIDS is a terrifying prospect for any parent, it is important to know it is extraordinarily rare.

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