NICE issue draft recommendations to tackle sudden infant death syndrome

NICE issue draft recommendations to tackle sudden infant death syndrome

According to the Office of National Statistics, 244 unexplained infant deaths occurred in England and Wales in 2011. Most of these deaths occur when infants are born prematurely or with a low birthweight. However, recent research suggests that co-sleeping with parents can increase the risk of SIDS due to “environmental stresses” on the baby.

The Department of Health asked the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to update its recommendations to “provide further evidence-based clarity to the risk factors associated with co-sleeping and SIDS.”

Professor Mark Baker, NICE’s clinical practice director said: “There is no universal agreement on the causes of sudden infant death syndrome […] it’s so important for parents to understand what the risks are. The recommendations we are developing aim to help healthcare professionals inform parents and carers of the likely risks associated with co-sleeping, according to the best available evidence.”

NICE has recommended that health care professionals advise parents and carers of infants (from birth to one-year-old) of the link between co-sleeping and SIDS.

The risk of SIDS could also potentially increase if co-sleeping occurs with:

  • either parent/carer smoking;
  • either parent/carer taking drugs or alcohol;
  • if a child has a low birth-weight or was born prematurely

The draft of recommendations concerning SIDS has been published by NICE and is currently in consultation.