UK heatwave puts babies at greater risk of cot death, parents warned – as temps soar to 33C

SUMMER heatwaves gripping the UK can put babies at risk of cot death, experts have warned.

With temperatures this week hitting 32C in parts of the country tomorrow, parents are being told to stay alert to the dangers of high heats.

 Parents should remove all clothing at night in the hot weather, letting babies sleep in just their nappies, the charity advises


Parents should remove all clothing at night in the hot weather, letting babies sleep in just their nappies, the charity advisesCredit: Getty – Contributor

The Lullaby Trust warned overheating is a major risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (Sids).

Baby’s bedrooms should be kept at 16-20C, the charity said – as temperatures tonight are thought to still be around an scorching 25C come 11pm.

During July’s heatwave, England’s top nurse warned the young and elderly face the greatest health risks during the warm spell.

Hay fever and asthma sufferers have should also stay inside, considering the “toxic cocktail” of humid weather and soaring pollen levels bought about by heatwaves can increase the risk of deadly attacks.

Check your baby regularly

Now, experts are reminding parents to check their baby’s temperatures – touching their chest or back of their neck to see if they feel clammy.

If so, it is a warning sign they are getting too hot, Jenny Ward, chief executive of The Lullaby Trust said.

She said: “We know that overheating is a risk factor for Sids, so keeping babies from getting too hot is important.

“We appreciate how hard it can be to keep babies cool in such hot weather, so we would urge parents to regularly monitor their baby’s temperature.

“If their baby’s skin is hot or sweaty, remove one or more layers of bedclothes or bedding, and think about moving them somewhere that might be a bit cooler.”

How to keep your baby safe at night

While it can be hard to regulate your baby’s room temperature, the charity advises parents to:

  • close the blinds or curtains all day to stop the room getting too hot
  • put a fan in the bedroom but make sure it’s out of reach and not pointed directly at your baby
  • reduce layers – let your baby sleep in just a nappy, no bedding is fine in hot weather
  • monitor the room temperature with a thermometer
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Pram covers can prove deadly

The charity also reiterated warnings about taking babies out in the hot weather.

Ms Ward said prams should never be covered with blankets or cloths because they can stop the air circulating, and prove dangerous for little ones.

Instead, she advised parents invest in clip-on sunshades to keep their baby out of direct sunlight.

“Babies should be kept out of direct sunlight and kept indoors during the hottest part of the day,” she added.

“If possible, parents should avoid taking their baby on public transport during peak hours and find a shop or cafe with air conditioning to cool down.”

The advice isn’t just relevant during the UK heat wave, the charity added.

Parents taking their babies on holiday should follow the same advice, to reduce the risk of cot death abroad.

Ms Ward added: “To reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome babies should be put to sleep on their back on a firm, flat, mattress for every sleep – day and night.”

Jenni Dunman, a paediatric first aid expert and founder of Daisy First Aid, told The Sun parents should also avoid using slings to carry their babies in this weather.

“Avoid slings in hot weather, your body heat will be too much for them and the air can’t circulate,” she warned.

She echoed the warnings of The Lullaby Trust about using blankets or cloths over the pram hood, adding: “The temperature inside the pram will rise to dangerous levels very quickly.”

And Jenni added that when using fans in your baby’s room it can help to place a wet towel in a safe spot between the fan and your baby to cool the air temperature.

Brave MP breaks down in tears as she recalls baby son’s cot death


SUDDEN infant death syndrome (Sids) is the sudden and unexplained death of an infant where no cause is found after detailed post mortem.

Experts do not know what causes Sids.

For many babies it is likely that a combination of factors affect them at a vulnerable stage of their development, which leads them to die suddenly and unexpectedly.
However, we do know you can significantly reduce the chance of Sids occurring by following safer sleep advice.

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While Sids cannot be completely prevented, you can reduce the risks of it occurring considerably by following our safer sleep advice.

Parents can:

  • Sleep your baby on their back for all sleeps – day and night – as this can reduce the risk of Sids by six times compared to sleeping them on their front
  • Share a room with your baby for the first six months – this can halve the risk of Sids
  • Keep your baby smoke-free during pregnancy and after birth – this is one of the most protective things you can do for your baby. Around 60 per cent of sudden infant deaths could be avoided if no baby was exposed to smoke during pregnancy or around the home
  • Never sleep on a sofa or armchair with your baby as this can increase the risk of Sids by 50 times.
  • Do not co-sleep with your baby if you or your partner has been drinking, is a smoker or has been taking drugs; these factors can put babies at an extremely high risk of Sids when co-sleeping. One study found that the risk of Sids when co-sleeping is six times higher in smokers than in non-smokers.

The above is especially important for babies who were born premature or of low birth weight, as these babies are at a higher risk of Sids.

To find out more visit The Lullaby Trust.

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