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Safer sleeping

Reducing the risks of cot death

A cot in your room is the safest place for your baby to sleep in their first six months. Keep the cot tidy and do not use plastic sheets. Babies can overheat, so try to keep the room between 16-20°C. Do not use duvets, quilts or pillows until your baby is one year old, and never use hot water bottles or electric blankets. Always position your baby in the ‘Feet to Foot’ position, with their feet at the foot of the cot so that they can’t move down inside their blanket.

Unless a health professional has told you to do something different, always put your baby to sleep on its back. Never let your baby fall asleep propped up on a cushion, on a sofa or chair, and don’t let anyone fall asleep while nursing your baby.

Remember - keep the house smokefree. Babies exposed to secondhand smoke have a greater risk to cot death. Call 0800 022 4332 or visit

For further advice or support you could speak to your Health Visitor or GP or contact The Lullaby Trust (formerly FSID) 0808 802 6869  

Health Visitor says

The safest place for your baby to sleep for the first six months of life is in a cot in your room. If you decide to take a baby into your bed, make sure you or your partner have not taken any medicine, drugs or alcohol that may make you sleep more heavily than usual. Being obese can increase risks. Remember, they face a bigger health risk if you or your partner is a smoker. Sleeping next to you your baby will be warmer anyway, so if they fall asleep they may get too hot. Taking your baby into your bed is never risk free.

Flat head syndrome

Flat head syndrome can occur in the womb or can be caused by a baby sleeping, resting and playing in one position.

Many babies develop a flattened head when they are a few months old, usually from sleeping on their back. FHS occurs when the back or one side of the baby's head is squashed against a firm mattress for a long time, which eventually forces the soft bone of the skull to flatten.

It often corrects itself over time and is usually nothing to worry about.


Always put your baby to sleep in the ‘Back to Sleep’ and ‘Feet to Foot’ position.


Babies aren’t good at keeping their temperature constant, so make sure they don’t get too hot or too cold.


Keep your baby’s cot in your room for the first six months.