Safeguarding Babies and Children Under 2 Years of Age

Safeguarding Babies and Children Under 2 Years of Age

Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI)

Although sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI) is rare, unfortunately over 200 babies nationally die every year as a result. We now have accurate information about these unfortunate deaths and research that tells us how we can prevent this. Everyone’s role in sharing the key messages is crucial — by talking to families, and supporting them with understanding how to avoid the specific risks for their baby, we can help to reduce the number of babies dying.

SUDI risk factors can include:

  • Unsafe sleep position — babies should sleep on their backs
  • Unsafe sleep environment including being too hot, a smoky room such as where tobacco has been smoked or unsafe objects such as a duvet or pillow
  • Co-sleeping in the presence of other risks including bed sharing and co-sleeping if either parent smokes or has taken a substance including alcohol or sleeping tablets
  • Overwrapping (head covered, use of pillows or duvets)
  • Soft sleep surfaces (soft or second-hand mattress)
  • Tobacco — smoking in pregnancy increases the risk and babies being in smoky environmental exposure
  • Alcohol and drugs — during pregnancy and when co-sleeping
  • Poor post-natal care — late booking and poor ante-natal attendance
  • Low birth weight (under 2,500g) and preterm birth (less than 37 weeks’ gestation)

We have listed some useful materials from the Lullaby Trust and National Guidance to help professionals and families to better understand these risks: