Reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

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Monday, December 22nd, 2014
Health Minister Jim Wells has reminded parents and carers to take steps to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and to be particularly alert during the upcoming holiday period. SIDS, sometimes called cot death, is the unexpected death of a baby or young child. It usually occurs during a period of sleep but can occur anywhere and at any time. During 2013 in Northern Ireland, there was an increase in the number of sudden infant deaths registered. The cause of SIDS is not known, but it is thought to be the result of a combination of factors and some factors are known to make SIDS more likely. Health Minister, Jim Wells, said, “Although the cause of SIDS is not fully understood, there is more evidence coming to light, and more advice available to parents and carers to help them reduce the risk of SIDS. “As we move into the holiday season and the winter months, it is timely to remind everyone of the key steps that can be taken to help prevent SIDS and safeguard our children.” The key messages to reduce the risk of SIDS are: • The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a cot in the same room you for the first six months; • Place your baby on their back to sleep; • Place your baby with their feet to the foot of the cot (to prevent your baby wriggling down under the covers); • 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 are a smoker, if you have been drinking alcohol, if you take medication or drugs which make you feel tired, or if you feel very sleepy; • Never sleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair; • Do not let your baby get too hot, keep your baby’s head uncovered (remember to remove hats, thick covers when coming in from outside); • Breastfeeding your baby helps reduce the risk of SIDS.
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