A safe sleeping environment for your baby

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is still one of the most common causes of deaths in infancy. If a baby is put to bed correctly, this can reduce the risk of infant death.

What is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?

What is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the death of an infant without any warning signs or discernible causes.  SIDS is triggered by various external factors that impact the child’s breathing and natural regulation of their body temperature. Older children and adults react to these factors unconsciously by changing their sleeping position or waking up. These vital reflexes are not yet developed in newborns, so their breathing and circulation may collapse.

Premature babies and multiples, children with anatomical developmental disorders in the respiratory tract and children of very young or socially disadvantaged mothers belong to the risk groups. Their stress can transfer to the child and contribute to SIDS.

How often does Sudden Infant Death Syndrome occur?

How often does Sudden Infant Death Syndrome occur?

An average of nine children die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in Switzerland every year. This corresponds to four percent of all deaths in infancy. Around 60 percent of those affected are boys.

In approx. 80 percent of all cases, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome occurs within the first six months of life. It rarely occurs in children over the age of one.

How can the risk be reduced?

How can the risk be reduced?

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome can be prevented by making sure your baby sleeps on his back. Soft mattresses, pillows and stuffed animals in bed should be avoided to prevent overheating. Possible diseases and development disorders can be detected early on and treated with regular preventive check-ups.

Important tips for a safe sleeping environment for your baby:

Sleeping bag

Sleeping bag

Baby fat regulates a child’s body temperature very reliably. However, a baby requires a warming cover in order to avoid getting cold during the night.

Pillows & blankets

Pillows and blankets are unsuitable. They're too warm and restrict the baby, which may impact its breathing.

Sleeping bag

A sleeping bag warms the baby evenly and keeps the nose and mouth free, even during restless nights.
Sleeping position

Sleeping position

The risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome can be significantly reduced with the correct sleeping position.

Side-lying position

In a side-lying position, a baby’s lungs can't inflate properly, which may impact its breathing. Lying on the left side also puts undue weight on the baby’s heart.

Back position

If the baby lies on its back, it can breathe freely because its chest is able to open wide. The nose and mouth are not blocked.

Stomach position

In the stomach position, the baby’s lungs can't expand sufficiently. Furthermore, in this position, the baby’s nose is pressed close to the mattress, which impacts its breathing.
Parents’ bed vs. cot

Parents’ bed vs. cot

Many young parents want to have their baby with them at night. However, being too close can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Parents’ bed

Blankets, pillows and the parents’ body heat can cause the baby to quickly overheat in the parents’ bed.


In his own bed – ideally fitted with slats rather than flat walls – heat doesn't accumulate and the baby can't overheat.
Cot accessories

Cot accessories

The cot shouldn't be set up to be comfortable, soft and cosy as all these factors contribute to SIDS. It is better to have accessories which promote the baby’s health.

Soft mattress

The baby will sink into a soft mattress, which means heat can accumulate on the back and sides.

Form stable mattress

A stable mattress will adjust to the baby’s shape without yielding, which means it won't overheat.

Stuffed animals inside the baby bed

The baby’s beloved stuffed animals will cause restrictions, causing heat to accumulate in the cot and possibly block the baby’s airway.

Stuffed animals beside the baby bed

If the stuffed animals remain outside the bed, the baby will have sufficient space to breathe freely, and the animals will still remain in its line of sight.
Sleeping place

Sleeping place

The bedroom should be a comfortable temperature for the baby. It must be well aired and smoke free so the baby’s airways aren't affected.


The cot shouldn't be positioned near a radiator as the additional warmth can cause the baby to overheat.

Ideal temperature

The baby’s sleeping quarters should have a constant room temperature between 18 and 20 degrees. This ensures a healthy and more restful sleep.


The cot shouldn't be positioned near an open window, as the baby isn't able compensate for the cool temperatures. Even a seemingly mild breeze can contribute to a respiratory infection.