The birth of a child can be tense for parents. But afterwards you must keep in mind that there is a danger to your baby's life that you can protect them from with a few simple but important measures in the first few months of life.

Sometimes healthy babies die completely unexpectedly in their cribs without any explanation. Doctors then look to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Fortunately, tragedies like this are rare. It is currently estimated that 2 out of 10,000 children in Germany die in this way. That's about 130 babies a year. In most cases, SIDS occurs within the first six months of life and at night, rather than during naps. What exactly leads to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is still unclear. It is thought that several factors usually come together. For example, genetic factors combined with an acute infection and an environment where people smoke. Parents can take clear steps to reduce danger. The important thing is for your baby to be able to sleep safely.

You should always put your baby on their back to sleep during their first year of life, never on their stomach or side. If your baby can only fall asleep on their tummy, turn them onto their back after they fall asleep. Over time, many children eventually learn to fall asleep on their backs. Just try again every few days to see whether they can fall asleep on their back now.

The safest thing for your baby is a sleep sack. If you use a blanket, there is a risk that their head will become covered and they won't be able to breathe properly. Of course, the sleep sack must fit. The neckline should not be larger than the baby's head. Otherwise, the baby’s head can slip in and they won’t be able to breathe well. To keep the baby from getting tangled up, the sleep sack shouldn’t be too wide. It also needs to be about 15 centimetres longer than the baby's body to allow them to kick.

It may sound uncomfortable, but the crib your baby sleeps in should be as empty as possible. This means there should be no pillows, cuddly toys, fur pads, or extra padding. The mattress should be as firm and breathable as possible.

Let your baby sleep in your room, but in their own crib. It is best for them to sleep there for the whole first year of life or at least for the first three months. For one thing, this makes it easier for you to breastfeed at night. And you can also react more quickly if your baby suddenly needs help.

Babies like cool temperatures. The best room temperature for sleeping is 18°C. Too much heat is dangerous for your baby. Therefore, you should never put their crib in the sun or next to a heater. Even if your child is sick, they don't need to sleep in a hat or extra warm clothes. Diapers and pajamas will do. To determine if your baby is too warm, it's best to feel between their shoulder blades. If you feel sweat, take something off, even if they’re sleeping.

Smoking not only harms your baby during pregnancy, but also after birth. It increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. You should therefore make sure that your baby is not exposed to smoke, especially during the first year of life. This is particularly true of the room in which your baby sleeps.

Ideally, you should breastfeed your baby fully for the first six months, and even better for the whole first year of life. This way the baby not only receives the best possible nutrition, but also valuable antibodies that help prevent sudden infant death syndrome.

Whether your child sleeps with a pacifier depends on what they want. You can just offer them a pacifier to fall asleep. If they want it, that’s fine. If not, that's alright too. Either way, you should not force it. You don't have to worry that a pacifier will make breastfeeding more difficult or be dangerous during sleep.

If your baby is younger than three months and has a fever, you should see your paediatrician right away. If your baby is older than three months, you should seek medical advice they have had a fever or cold for more than three days. You should also seek medical attention if your baby turns blue around the mouth or all over their face. If your baby sweats unusually heavily during sleep, vomits frequently, chokes, or has trouble drinking, be sure to seek advice as well. The same applies if there are noticeable spots on your baby’s skin or if they screams and cannot be calmed down. If you notice any abnormalities, it is best to contact your midwife or paediatrician right away.