The Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow has revealed a possible link between ‘Cot Death’ and the use of second-hand mattresses, due to bacteria living in mattresses. Throughout the article, they also recommend that your baby’s mattress be brand new, clean, firm, with no sagging and showing no signs of deterioration, to prevent any chance of cot death or SIDS.
The condition commonly known as Cot Death results in the death of 500 babies annually in the UK. In the vast majority of cases, the baby dies during sleeping. However, SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) does not exclusively affect sleeping babies. As SIDS has no exact cause, paediatricians stress that the advice is best practice and not a guarantee. Some medical professionals even go as far as to say the condition is genetic and non-preventable. In all cases, though, a new mattress is recommended to be considered safe.
Who is most susceptible to SIDS?
Almost all deaths attributed to SIDS occur during the first year of life, with 90% of these deaths occurring between 0-6 months. In gender terms, the condition is more common in boys than girls, which remains unexplained. Babies born before 39 weeks are also at a higher risk than those born after this period.
Mattress Solutions For Babies
Your natural instinct as a parent would be to remove the used mattress in order to protect your baby. Although a direct link between used mattresses and SIDS cannot be shown, replacing your baby's old mattress with a brand-new one is suggested, especially if the used mattress was obtained from another household.
The best course of action would be to get a brand-new mattress, even if some doctors have said that SIDS is probably not caused by used mattresses.
Additionally, be sure to keep in mind the following guidelines, provided by doctors to guarantee the safety of the mattress you use for your baby:
#1. Mattresses need to be clean
A baby's mattress must be washed frequently. The mattress may be thoroughly and easily cleaned thanks to the removable covers. The advice is to get mattresses with PVC coverings that are detachable and washable.
Each baby born in a household doesn't necessarily need a brand-new mattress, thanks to PVC mattress covers. PVC mattress coverings can be washed, which allows parents to prolong the cleanliness of the baby's mattress.
#2. Sturdy mattresses are essential
Doctors recommend newborn babies to sleep on firm, durable mattresses. It is advised that mattresses for newborns not be too soft and saggy. The used mattresses that were found in studies to cause SIDS could have become overly soft over time.
This may be the cause for the cot deaths being attributed to mattresses that have been passed down from one household to another.
#3. The mattress must look new
While it need not be a spanking new mattress, it must not appear worn or outdated in any way. Mattresses that have begun to degrade should never be used again for newborns since the wear and tear could pose a health risk.
Your mattress matters
While new research focuses on the role of previously used mattresses, similar theories have been in existence for a while. Safe sleeping advice for babies regularly recommends mattresses which do not sink or deflate under pressure. Never place cushions or soft pillows into your baby’s cot or Moses basket.
To meet safety standards, Kerry Nevins subjected the babocush to rigorous safety tests before launching. The cushion was placed under pressure to test if it would sink and expose babies to unnecessary danger or risk of suffocation. After testing, the cushion was deemed safe for babies from 0-6 months. For your peace of mind, more information on the babocush safety standards can be found here.
Other factors to be aware of with SIDS
As well as safe sleeping techniques, other factors have been deemed to affect SIDS in infants. Babies exposed to cigarette smoke in the womb or at home are considered to be more at risk of SIDS than others. The NHS in the UK also links feeding habits to the number of Cot Deaths, and they recommend breastfeeding when possible. Babies who are slow to develop or have a low birth weight also fall into a higher risk category.
Lastly, consider the wider sleeping/resting environment your baby is in. They should have minimal bedding and a consistent room temperature of 16-200C. While following these steps can mean your baby is at a lesser risk, we must stress they are not guaranteed methods to prevent SIDS from occurring.
Baby sleeping tips
We advise parents to follow these cot and sleep-safety tips:
- Keep your baby's cot in your room for the first six months.
- Make sure the mattress is firm, dry and clean.
- Until your baby can roll from back to front and back again, your baby should sleep on their back (unless your doctor advises otherwise).
- It is best to place your baby's feet at the foot of the cot, so they will not be able to wriggle under the covers. If they move around and get exposed, don't worry.
- It can be dangerous if your baby's head gets covered while sleeping. To avoid this, tuck the bedclothes firmly around your baby and no higher than shoulder level.
- If your baby is younger than a year old, never use a pillow, quilt, or duvet. Use cotton sheets or thin blankets as an alternative.
- Use a room thermometer to check the temperature before putting your baby to bed because the ideal room temperature for a baby to sleep in is between 61-68ºF.
- To check whether your baby is too hot, look for sweating or feel the back of your baby's neck or tummy, not the hands or feet.
- Keep the cot out of direct sunlight.
- Babies lose excess heat from their heads. Therefore, even if it involves waking your baby, remove their cap and extra clothing as soon as you enter the house, a heated vehicle, or a shop after being outside with them.
The babocush cushion is designed with safety as a priority, but be sure to follow the instructions given with the cushion and the advice found on the babocush website. Buying a second-hand cushion or using one that has been passed down is not recommended. Under no circumstances should a baby be left on the cushion unattended, nor should you place your baby on it if you are tired or resting.
If you are considering buying the babocush cushion, read the instructions in advance. We aim for contentment for both parent and baby and ask all users to enjoy the benefits of the babocush safely.