In rare cases, sudden infant death syndrome can occur in the first year of life during sleep. Luckily, effective prevention is available: the right sleeping environment. Simple measures help reduce the risk for your baby to a minimum. The following recommendations are scientifically confirmed and have proven to be successful in practice.
This is how your baby will sleep safely and sound
Sleeping on the back
From day one, babies should always sleep on their back – also during the daytime. This is the most important preventive measure for safe sleep and it lowers the risk for sudden infant death syndrome by 50%.
If you worry that your baby might swallow vomited food or even suffocate from it, you no longer need to worry. Experts say this fear is completely unfounded but, unfortunately, often stands in the way of a safe sleeping position.
When your baby is awake and active, the baby should be put on his/her stomach, so that they can train their back muscles. Later, when your baby is able to turn on their tummy on their own to sleep this way, you may leave them sleeping in that position.
Baby sleeping bag instead of blanket
A suitable baby sleeping bag cannot be kicked off or pulled over the head.
For the correct length of sleeping bags the rule is: body length minus head length plus 10-15 cm. The neck opening must not be larger than the head’s girth. There are already special sleeping bags available for newborn babies.
Protection from overheating
Babies like to be cool while sleeping. You should only turn the heating on if the room temperature drops below 18°C. Do not put the cot near the heating or in the sun. The hands and feet of your baby may be cool. This does not mean that they feel cold.
All your baby needs to sleep is a diaper, a bodysuit, pajamas and the sleeping bag. If the room temperature is high, especially in summer, they need even less. If your baby sweats around the neck, the room is too warm. Do not put a hat on for sleep, babies get rid of extra heat through their heads. Hot water bottles and heated blankets do not belong in a cot, and neither does a sheep fleece or similar.
Cigarette smoke is harmful
Smoking near babies increases the risk of illnesses as well as the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
Please avoid smoking during pregnancy and during the first year. The living area should be smoke-free, especially the room where the baby sleeps.
Separate cot in the parents’ bedroom
In the first year, the baby should sleep in his/her own bed in your bedroom. The sound of your breathing has a positive effect on the regulation of your baby’s breathing.
Furnishings for the cot:
- a quite hard, air-permeable mattress
- without pillow
- without fur, soft pillowing (nest) or cuddly toys
Breastfeeding is healthy
Breastfed children have a reduced risk of sudden infant death. If possible, you should breastfeed your baby for at least 6 months. This strengthens your baby’s body and immune system.