In preparing your home for the arrival of your new baby, one of the most important decisions you may make is where and how they will sleep. Apart from obvious factors like having easy access to your baby for those middle-of-the-night feeds, many parents revel in decorating baby’s room and creating a delightful sleeping space. However before establishing a sleep space for your baby it is important to consider current safe sleeping guidelines.
The guidelines provided by SIDS and Kids, Australia’s leading authority on the subject, aim to assist you in providing a safe sleep safe for your baby. They also provide advice on key health measures proven to minimise the risk factors associated with sudden unexpected death in infancy, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), formerly known as cot death. A new campaign, launched by SIDS and Kids, seeks to raise awareness in particular of recent research on the benefits of breastfeeding in reducing the tragic loss of infants to SIDS.
The SIDS and Kids Sleep Safe, My Baby Campaign
SIDS and Kids recently launched a new public health campaign, Sleep Safe, My Baby to educate mothers and families on safe sleeping practices to reduce the risk of sudden and unexpected death in infancy. The key change to the existing key public health recommendations to reduce the risk of sudden and unexpected death in infancy, is the addition of ‘breastfeed if you can’ as a sixth safe sleeping message.
Breastfeeding and Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy
Research has shown that breastfeeding not only contributes to improved infant health and lowered infant mortality rates but that it can increase babies’ immunity against a number of chronic illnesses.1 In addition, research has now also confirmed the role breastfeeding plays in reducing the risk of sudden and unexpected death in infancy. Mounting evidence shows that breastfeeding for any duration of time can reduce the risk of sudden and unexpected death in infancy by up to 40 per cent.2
Revised Safe Sleeping Guidelines
Six ways to reduce the risk of sudden and unexpected death in infancy and sleep baby safely:
1. Sleep baby on the back from birth, not on the tummy or side.
2. Sleep baby with head and face uncovered.
3. Keep baby smoke free before birth and after.
4. Provide a safe sleeping environment night and day.
5. Sleep baby in their own safe sleeping place in the same room as an adult care-giver for the first six to twelve months.
6. Breastfeed baby if you can.
About SIDS and Kids
SIDS and Kids is a high profile and well respected national charity with a highly successful history in health promotion, bereavement support, advocacy and research. SIDS and Kids is dedicated to saving the lives of babies and children during pregnancy, birth, infancy and childhood and supporting bereaved families.
SIDS and Kids offers anyone affected by the death of a baby or child counselling via a 24-hour bereavement support helpline for the cost of a local call. They also provide safe sleeping education for mums, dads, grandparents, carers and the like to reduce the occurrence of SIDS and other fatal sleeping accidents.
For more information
1 US Department of Health and Human Services 2011, The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding. Washington, DC; US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General; 2011
2 Young J, Watson, Ellis L, Raven L. (2012) Responding to evidence: breastfeed baby if you can – the sixth public health recommendation to reduce the risk of sudden and unexpected death in infancy. Breastfeeding Review Vol 20, Issue 1, pages 7-16.