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Place your baby on its back to sleep, in a safe space with a firm flat mattress, in a room with you Do not smoke in pregnancy or let anyone smoke in the same room as your baby Do not share a bed with your baby if you have been drinking alcohol, taking drugs, are a smoker, or your baby was born prematurely Never sleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair Do not let your baby get too hot or too cold, and keep your baby's head uncovered Breastfeed your baby NHS Choices and the The Lullaby Trust provide detailed information about reducing the risk of SIDS.

They conclude that risk reduction messages to prevent sudden infant deaths should be targeted more appropriately to unsafe infant care practices such as sleeping on sofas, bed-sharing after the use of alcohol or drugs, or bed-sharing by parents who smoke, and that advice on whether bed-sharing should be discouraged needs to take into account the important relationship with breastfeeding. Relationship between bed-sharing and breastfeeding:

Recent research has developed a potential model of three types of factors that may put a baby at a higher risk of SIDS. The first factor describes vulnerabilities that the baby is born with, like a premature birth or prenatal exposure to harmful chemicals for example cigarette smoke or drugs. The second factor is the stage of development the baby is in.

The average age for the critical developmental period for infants appears to be 2 — 4 months of age, the age when most SIDS deaths occur.

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  • More information about the Triple Risk Model can be found here. Bed-sharing safety Although most new parents think that they will never sleep with their baby, research shows that many do so for various reasons. On any given night a fifth of all UK babies spend at least part of the night sleeping with one or both of their parents.

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    The prevalence and characteristics associated with parent-infant bed-sharing in England. In order to reduce the chance of accidents it is important to be informed about bed-sharing safety, whether or not you intend to do it, as we sometimes fall asleep with our babies when we don't mean to - especially during night-time feeds.

    Falling asleep with a baby on a sofa or an arm-chair is associated with wedging and compression accidents where babies are trapped between the furniture and their parent's body.

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  • Placing a baby alone on an adult bed is associated with accidents where babies fall and become trapped between the bed and a wall, or between the bars of an open headboard.

    Think about how to safety-proof your bed if you might possibly bed-share with your baby. La Leche League produces the Safe Sleep Seven information sheet with safety guidance for bed-sharing. However hand-me-down or second-hand products may be defective, or produced before current safety standards were implemented.

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    The Consumer's Association provides guidelines regarding safety of new and second-hand cots. In the US drop-sided cots have been banned since June due to infant deaths and product recalls; no such ban has been proposed for Europe. Research has not found any link between mattresses and SIDS. The Lullaby Trust recommend cot mattresses should be clean and dry with no tears, cracks or holes, and if possible purchase a new mattress for each baby.

    The mattress should fit the cot without gaps. Think about where you place your baby's cot and ensure it is away from radiators, curtains, and hanging cords.

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