May 16, 2023

Is it safe to put babies to sleep on their side?

Sophie Allen
Sophie Allen
Is it safe to put babies to sleep on their side?

One of the most significant concerns of new parents is ensuring that their baby is sleeping safely. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or cot death is a rare but tragic event that can occur during a baby's sleep, and it's important to take necessary precautions to reduce the risk of this happening.

One of the most frequently asked questions by parents is "When can babies sleep on their side?" It is important to note that placing a baby on their side to sleep is not recommended. Instead, infants should be placed on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS. This sleeping position is recommended by the NHS (National Health Service) and other health organisations.

Many parents believe that side sleeping can help reduce reflux or colic, but the benefits of side sleeping do not outweigh the risks of SIDS. Some parents also believe that side sleeping can reduce the risk of choking, but babies have protective mechanisms in place to prevent choking, such as the ability to cough and swallow.

It's crucial to note that the risk of SIDS is highest during the first six months of a baby's life. The safest way for babies to sleep is on their backs, as it reduces the risk of SIDS by approximately 50%.

It's recommended that parents continue to place their babies on their backs to sleep until they are at least one year old.

To prevent side sleeping in the first 12 months, it's important to do the following: 

  • Create a safe sleeping environment for your little one. 

  • Your baby should be placed on a firm, flat surface, such as a crib mattress, and not on soft surfaces, such as a couch or a waterbed. 

  • Your little one’s crib should be free of any loose bedding, such as blankets or pillows. 

  • They should be dressed appropriately for room temperature.

  • It's also essential to keep their sleeping area free of any hazards, such as toys or cords, which could pose a choking or strangulation risk. 

  • Your little one should not be placed to sleep on their sides, stomachs, or with their heads covered by blankets or pillows.


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