Tips on cot death
What are the principal measures to prevent cot death?
We wish to point out that the causes of cot death are still not 100% clear. However, scientific studies have highlighted a number of risk factors which undeniably have a negative effect on sleeping babies. These risks can be reduced if you take the following preventive measures.
- Putting the baby on its back is the only safe sleeping position
Always put a baby to sleep on its back. You should absolutely avoid putting it on its stomach or side. These positions should be avoided for a number of reasons. Babies will fall asleep sooner on their back if they are put to sleep in this position right from the start.
From the age of three months, however, your child may turn itself from back position to stomach position. Even though you put him on his back, in his sleep your baby may unconsciously roll over onto its stomach. Moreover, the risk of cot death is highest in children who sleep on their stomach for the first time. Try to avoid this by letting your baby play on his tummy now and again when he's awake. But only under the constant watchfulness of an adult. Medici and experts recommend laying your baby in different positions. This is ideal for your baby to learn to tilt his head up, crawl and sit. When your baby is sleeping, absolutely avoid him laying on his tummy!
- Smoking during and after pregnancy is bad for mother and child
Smoking increases the risk of lifelong damage to health and of cot death. Nicotine impedes the function of particular heart receptors which accelerate the heart rhythm. This slows down the response in the event of a shortage of oxygen, e.g. when the baby is asleep. For this reason, smoking is prohibited during and after pregnancy, which applies to mum and dad. Learn more how you can avoid contact between your baby and smoking. The consumption of alcohol and drugs by the mother also increases the risk of cot death.
- Make sure the baby does not get too hot
The baby must not get too hot so as to prevent the risk of heat congestion. This applies not only when they are asleep but also when awake. Pay particular attention to the combination of clothing, ambient temperature and bed products used.
If in spite of these measures your baby does get too hot (e.g. when it has a fever or in high summer temperatures) and it sleeps on an AeroSleep mattress cover, he will be better able to keep his body temperature under control. The air can maximally circulate through our 3D structure: the hot air from the body is discharged and fresh air is supplied from the surroundings. In this way, AeroSleep reduces the chance of overheating and heat congestion.
- The bedding must guarantee a safe sleeping environment
Always use a safe bed with safe bedding. Avoid all material in which the baby may suffocate or where it can get stuck.
- Keep a regular and direct eye on your baby while he is asleep
Always stay near your baby. Preferably keep your baby in your room for the first six months, where it should sleep in a separate cot. Also make sure that the baby sleeps near you during the day. Through your natural vigilance, you will in this way notice sooner if something is wrong. If possible keep this up until the child can easily turn around by itself (about six months).
Please note never to sleep with your baby in the same bed. This is because an adult bed is more likely to cause cot death than a baby bed. Even when you take these precautionary measures into account, it remains important to know how you can recognize the risks of cot death. Read here how you can detect potentially dangerous situations.
What other factors increase the risks when your baby sleeps?
Cot death occurs in particular in children under the age of six months, with a peak between two and four months.
Cot death occurs about twice as often in male babies.
Prematurity increases the chance of cot death because it is reversely proportionate to birth weight and length of pregnancy. The lower the birth rate and the shorter the pregnancy, the higher the chance of cot death.
- Sleep rhythm
Try to respect the child's life rhythm and follow a regular time schedule. This ensures that the child does not get too little sleep which may also increase the risk of cot death.
- Breast feeding
Breast feeding is recommended as the gold standard to reduce baby mortality in the post-natal and post-neonatal period.However, breast feeding is currently not considered a significant preventive factor against cot death.
Medicines with a sleep-inducing side effect should be avoided. They may cause a baby to sleep too deeply.Give your baby a medicine only if the doctor advises you to do so because for many medicines it is insufficiently known what their effect is on small children. If you are breast feeding, you should also avoid these medicines because you pass them on via your breast milk. Vaccination, infections and ALTE have no risk-enhancing effect on cot death.
Cot death occurs more often in winter. Nevertheless, we recommend dressing your child in accordance with the ambient temperature in the room where he sleeps and not on the basis of the outdoor temperature. Even if it is very cold outside, the temperature inside the room may be much higher, e.g. as a result of heating. Air the child's room as much as possible. Where appropriate, use a fan.
- Rest and regularity
Babies are sensitive to disruptions in rest. It is better to avoid restless situations (travel, staying with other people, moving house, etc.) during the child's first year. They can easily upset a baby, leading to disturbed sleep. This is why it is important to keep an even closer eye on the child in such situations. A baby also experiences a sudden change in the environment as stressful, causing a change in its sleep pattern. It therefore appears that the chance of cot death during day care is higher, in particular during the first days.
- Stay on the same altitude
At high altitudes or during air travel, there is lower oxygen tension. Babies still have foetalhaemoglobin, making them tolerate relative oxygen decreases. However, long exposure to low oxygen tension may increase the risk of cot death.
- Parent-related factors
This is often linked with the young age of the parents, a low level of education, single parenthood, etc. These elements together may be responsible for an increased risk of cot death. Moreover, it has been noted that the safety recommendations are less heeded among this group of parents. Unfortunately it is impossible to guarantee complete safety because babies remain vulnerable. The risk that something suddenly happens to a baby can never be completely excluded. However, if the above advice and tips are followed, the chance of particular possible risks of cot death becomes much smaller.
Never hesitate to ask your doctor for medical advice. You should do this in any case if you think there is something wrong with your baby, if you have any doubts or questions, or in the following possibly threatening situations.
When is lowered blood pressure dangerous for babies?
Babies between the age of two and four weeks and between five and six months compensate for a drop in blood pressure by an increased heart beat, restoring their blood pressure to normal.
Babies between two and three months, who are at the greatest risk of cot death, are unable to compensate for a drop in blood pressure by increasing heart beat. This means that the blood pressure remains low, which may slow down the baby's wake threshold.