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Cot Death (SIDS)

Causes and Prevention of Cot Death

What is cot death?

Cot death is the sudden and unexpected death of a baby. After the post-mortem examination, the cause of death remains unexplained and may be registered as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), sudden infant death, sudden unexpected death in infancy, unascertained or cot death.

Cot death causes

No single cause has been identified. Researchers believe a number of different, undiscovered causes are likely,or that a combination of factors affect babies at a particularly vulnerable stage of their development.

Who's at risk?

Most cot deaths occur when the baby is under the age of six months, and can happen anywhere, not only in a cot.

About 300 babies aged under one die each year in the UK.

The risk is greater in boys, premature babies and those of low birth weight and babies whose parents smoke.

Preventing cot death

It's not possible to prevent cot death from occurring, but there are ways to reduce the risk:

Place babies on their back to sleep

Don't smoke during pregnancy (this applies to both parents)

Don't allow people to smoke in the same room as your baby

Don't allow your baby to get too hot

Keep your baby's head uncovered - their feet should be to the foot of the cot to stop them wriggling down under the covers

Don't fall asleep with your baby on the sofa or in an armchair

Don't share your bed with your baby if you or your partner smoke, have been drinking alcohol, are taking medication or drugs that cause drowsiness, are excessively tired, or if your baby was premature or was small at birth

Put your baby's cot in your bedroom for the first six months

Apply the same measures when your baby sleeps during the day

Settling your baby to sleep with a dummy - even for naps - can reduce the risk of cot death, even if the dummy falls out while your baby is asleep


All above information is taken from BBC Health

All content within BBC Health is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. The BBC is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of the BBC Health website. The BBC is not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the sites. See our Links Policy for more information. Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health.


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