Scottish Cot Death Trust

Does breastfeeding protect my baby from Cot Death?

Breastfeeding is the very best way to feed your baby and will help protect him from infection. However, there is no evidence from UK studies that it actually reduces the risk of Cot Death.

Does having my baby immunised increase the risk of Cot Death?

No. Research indicates that babies who have been vaccinated are at lower, not higher, risk of Cot Death.

Is it dangerous for our baby to sleep in our bed?

Sleeping with your baby should be avoided if you or your partner smoke, have consumed alcohol, have taken drugs or medication which may make you sleep more heavily, or if you are very tired. The safest place for a baby to sleep is in his/her own crib or cot, in the parents’ room.

Do I need a new mattress for each baby?

Two research studies carried out by The Scottish Cot Death Trust have shown an increased risk of Cot Death for babies sleeping on a mattress previously used by another baby. The risk was very small if the other baby was an older brother or sister in the same family but higher if the mattress was second-hand from another home. More research is continuing on this subject but meantime you may choose to avoid any potential risk by buying a new mattress. Otherwise, make sure the mattress is very clean, dry and in good condition. It’s best to choose one which is totally covered with plastic which can be easily be washed down.

Should the baby sleep in his/her own room or our bedroom?

Recent research suggests that having the baby’s crib or cot in the parents’ room for the first six months is protective against sudden infant death. If you don’t have room for this, have the baby in the next room and make sure both doors are open.

Can I take my baby in an aeroplane?

Several years ago there was a suggestion that babies might be at increased risk of sudden infant death if they had been on a long plane journey, because of the different oxygen levels in an aircraft. However, there is no evidence of a higher incidence of Cot Death in babies who have been travelling in planes.

My baby keeps turning onto his tummy in bed – what should I do?

As babies mature, some will choose to sleep on their tummies. There is nothing parents can do to prevent this and there is no point in getting up constantly during the night to move the baby onto his back. However, always put him on his back when you put him in his cot. Keep in mind that the peak age of Cot Death is 4-12 weeks and that, by the time most babies are able to roll over, they are past this high-risk period.