Taking care of a child

How to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Så minskar du risken för plötslig spädbarnsdöd - engelska

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is when a baby stops breathing and dies, usually during sleep. It is very rare. The best way to reduce the risk is for the baby to sleep on their back.

It is common for babies to take small pauses in their breathing.  

Sometimes, it can be a pause of several seconds. 

This is perfectly natural and does not lead to sudden infant death syndrome. 

Läs texten på svenska här.

What is SIDS?

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is when a baby stops breathing and dies unexpectedly. It is most common when the baby is asleep. 

The baby usually does not show any signs of feeling unwell beforehand. 

SIDS usually happens before the baby is six months old. 

It is very rare 

In Sweden, it is very rare for babies to die from SIDS. 

It is not entirely clear what causes SIDS. 

But there are some things you can do to reduce the risk. You can read about these below.  

Let your baby sleep on their back

The most important piece of advice is that your baby should sleep on their back. This may help because it is easier to get air. 

The baby should not sleep on their stomach.  

It is not safe for the baby to sleep on their side, as they could roll over onto their stomach. 

When the baby is able to roll over onto their side or stomach 

The risk of SIDS decreases as the baby gets older. 

The risk of SIDS is lower when the baby is able to roll over in their sleep. 

Do not smoke

Nicotine and smoking are harmful to the baby. They also increase the risk of SIDS. 
This is true both when you are pregnant and after the baby is born. 

Nicotine can be found in products such as cigarettes, hookah, e-cigarettes and snus, which you put under your lip. 

If you are breastfeeding, the nicotine is passed on to the baby. 

Try to stop smoking 

It is a good idea for everyone around your baby to try to stop smoking. Reduce smoking as much as possible if you cannot quit completely. 

Contact a healthcare centre (vårdcentral) or a children's health centre (barnavårdscentral) if you would like help to stop smoking. 

Make sure nothing is near your baby's face

If your baby's face is covered with something, it will be harder for them to breathe. Make sure there are no blankets, pillows, stuffed animals or other objects near your baby's face. 

It is also a good idea to make sure your baby is not too warm. 

Your baby needs to be able to move around while sleeping. 

The safest place for a baby to sleep is in their own bed

Children under the age of three months sleep safest in their own bed in the same room as you. 

If you sleep in the same bed, an arm or bedding could end up covering the baby's face. 

It is also easier for the baby to end up on their side or stomach. 

Move the baby over to their own bed 

Your baby can be with you while you breastfeed or bottle-feed. Then place the baby on their back in their own bed. 

If your baby falls asleep somewhere else, you can move them over to their own bed. 

Do not drink alcohol

Your baby will be affected if you drink alcohol or use sedatives. 

Here are some things that could happen:  

  • You will find it harder to wake up if your baby needs you. 
  • You might not notice if your baby is not getting air. 
  • You might accidentally lie on top of your baby. 
  • Your baby may end up on their stomach or their side. 

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