Draft NICE guidance urges GPs to warn parents or carers that falling asleep with a child after smoking, drinking or taking drugs raises the risk of SIDS. GPs must inform parents with babies born prematurely or who had low birth weights that they are at a higher risk of contracting SIDS, the guidance says.
The advice has been updated after recent research found that even non-smokers sharing a bed with their baby could induce SIDS.
Clinical practice director of NICE, Professor Mark Baker, said: ‘Falling asleep with a baby - whether that’s in a bed or on a sofa or chair - is risky.
Cause of SIDS unclear
‘There is no universal agreement on the causes of SIDS… but we know there is a link between SIDS and falling asleep with a baby.’
Professor Baker acknowledged that in some circumstances parents may find it difficult to sleep apart from their baby but warned this was a key reason why GPs should warn parents about the risks.
A consultation on the draft advice runs until 31 July.