Dummies & SIDS

New government recommendations for the use of dummies in helping to prevent cot death.
A recent review of evidence relating to the cause and prevention of cot death has found that the use of dummies can halve the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). This has led the Department of Health to recommend that all parents give their newborn baby a dummy when they put them down to sleep.

The government recommended states that a dummy should be offered when baby is put down for a nap (be it in the day or evening) although it should not be forced or coated in anything sweet if the baby doesn't want to accept it. Dummies should not be introduced to breastfed babies until after they reach one month of age to ensure that breastfeeding has been properly established. Additionally, parents should not worry if their baby's dummy falls out whilst he or she is asleep.

The guidelines encourage parents to wean their baby off dummies from around 6 months of age as this is when the risk of SIDS begins to drop and emphasises that dummies should only be used for sleep, rather than during waking hours.

While the research reviewed suggests that dummies can help to reduce the risk of cot death it is important to take other precautions to....
  • Always put babies to sleep lying flat on their back
  • Let baby sleep in the same room as you for at least 6 months
  • Use sheets and blankets instead of pillows and duvets until your baby is at least 1 year of age
  • Never share a bed with your baby if you have been smoking, drinking, taking drugs or are particularly tired
  • Never allow your baby to be exposed to smoke
  • Make sure your baby doesn't overheat by gauging their temperature from their tummy rather than their hands or feet
  • Never let your baby's covers ride up over their head

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