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It usually occurs during sleep but can happen anywhere and at any time. SIDS is a rare condition. What causes sudden infant death syndrome SIDS?

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There is no known cause why babies and young children die from SIDS. Exposing a baby to cigarette smoke or allowing a baby to overheat increases the risk. Co-sleeping means an adult sleeping beside a baby in a bed, on a sofa or chair. Healthy babies placed on their backs are not more likely to choke.

Sleeping a baby on their tummy or side greatly increases the risk of SIDS. If your baby rolls onto their tummy, you should place them on their back again with their feet to the foot of the cot. Feet to foot "Feet to foot" means your baby's feet touch the foot of the cot, crib or Moses basket.

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Babies can overheat because: You need to check regularly to make sure your baby does not get too hot. When indoors or in a warm car, bus or train, remove a hat or extra clothing from your baby.

Suitable bedding for your baby Use sheets and lightweight blankets. Don't use duvets, quilts, baby nests, wedges, bedding rolls or pillows. A folded blanket makes two layers.

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  • It is good to use a lightweight, well-fitting baby sleeping bag. A baby's mattress should be firm, flat, well-fitting and clean. The outside should be waterproof and covered with a single sheet.

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  • If your baby is sweating or their tummy feels hot to the touch, remove one or more layers of bedding. Keep your baby's head uncovered while sleeping Arrange the bed covers to reach no higher than your baby's shoulders. Tuck in covers securely. Loose sheets or blankets can cover a baby's face or head and can increase the risk of SIDS. Sleeping position at five or six months old Aged five or six months old, a baby can roll from back to front and back again on their own.

    You can leave the baby to find their own position. Breastfed babies have a lower risk of SIDS.

    Getty During the day, immerse your baby in the hustle and bustle of normal life but during night feeds avoid stimulating them. Ask your pharmacist or health visitor for advice. Remove any extra blankets or stuffed animals before putting them to bed.

    Breastfeeding your baby, even for some feeds, may reduce the risk of SIDS compared to exclusive formula feeding. Exclusive breastfeeding decreases the risk of SIDS. To avoid exposing your baby to cigarettes: This greatly increases the risks of SIDS, even if you don't smoke in bed. Smoking Risks of bed-sharing co-sleeping The safest place for your baby to sleep is on their back with their feet to the foot of a cot in your room during their first six months.

    An adult bed-sharing with a baby increases the risk of SIDS.

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    Don't share a bed with your baby if you or your partner: Sleeping with your baby on a sofa or chair is linked to a higher risk of SIDS. There is also a risk that your baby might be trapped, injured or suffocated. Some parents find that using a breathing monitor reassures them. If your baby seems unwell, seek medical advice immediately.

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