Safe sleeping

Sleep is a very important part of your baby’s growth and each baby’s sleep pattern is different. Some sleep much more than others, some sleep for longer periods, others in short bursts; some sleep through the night while others can take longer to get to this point.

No matter how long they sleep each time it is important to ensure that they are sleeping safely as it can greatly reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Sudden Unexpected Death in Infants (SUDI) and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

It may be difficult to talk about SUDI or SIDS, as it can make you feel anxious about the safety of your baby. However, it is very important that we talk together about this to ensure the safety of your baby and ways to reduce the risk.

SUDI covers all unexpected infant deaths, including both explained, and unexplained. Explained SUDI may include congenital issues, sudden onset illnesses, accidents and infanticides. If a sudden infant death is unexplained, it is often classified as SIDS.

We now have accurate information on how to reduce the risk of your baby dying from SIDS, if you follow these three key steps:

  1. Put your baby on their back to sleep for every sleep
  2. Sleep your baby in a clear, flat sleep space (for most babies this will mean in a cot or Moses basket in the same room as you)
  3. Keep your baby smoke free day and night

If you have had a baby that died from SIDS please speak to your health visitor or midwife about our CONI (Care Of the Next Infant) programme.


This means that your baby shares the same bed or other sleep surfaces with an adult for most of the night, and not just to be comforted or fed.

If for any reason you are considering co-sleeping, it is essential that you speak to your health visitor who can assess your baby’s sleep environment and suggest ways of making it safer.

When not to co-sleep

It is important for you to know that there are some circumstances in which co-sleeping with your baby can be very dangerous:

  • Either you or your partner smokes (even if you do not smoke in the bedroom)
  • Either you or your partner has drunk alcohol or taken drugs (including medications that may make you drowsy)
  • You are extremely tired
  • Your baby was born premature (37 weeks or less)
  • Your baby was born at a low weight (2.5kg or 5½ lbs or less)
  • Never sleep on a sofa or armchair with your baby, this can increase the risk of SIDS by 50 times

You should never sleep together with your baby if any of the above points apply to you or your partner.