Safe sleep essentials
Key points to remember
- every year, about 60 babies die suddenly in their sleep
- most deaths are preventable
- safe sleep means face up, face clear, smokefree every time and place a baby sleeps
- sleeping face up (on the back) protects babies through a critical stage of development
- a clear face protects babies from suffocation
- a smokefree start to life makes babies strong
Message to parents
- precious new baby?
- advice from everyone?
- how do you decide what is essential and what is not?
This fact sheet offers you essential up-to-date information to help keep your baby safe every time and every place they sleep.
What is SUDI?
SUDI stands for sudden, unexpected death in infancy. Some SUDI deaths can be explained (for example, asphyxia or suffocation). Others cannot be (for example, SIDS or cot death). Most happen in the first six months of life when a baby is asleep.
How does SUDI happen?
Babies have a natural drive to breathe. This fails for SUDI babies. They stop breathing in their sleep. Their breathing may stop because of:
- things in their sleeping environment
- things that weaken a baby's drive to breathe
Who is at risk of SUDI?
SUDI risks comes from a set of things that act together:
- some babies have a weaker drive to breath than others (for example, due to smoking in pregnancy, a low birth weight, being born prematurely or being bottle fed or unwell)
- some sleeping situations have more hazards than others (for example, from pillows, unsafe positioning, people in the bed, loose covers, soft bedding or unsafe swaddling)
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