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Keywords:

  • bed sharing;
  • breastfeeding;
  • infant care practices;
  • sleep position;
  • smoking;
  • sudden infant death

Abstract

This paper summarises a 1-day scientific consensus forum that reviewed the evidence underpinning the Australian SIDS and Kids Safe Sleeping Health Promotion Programme. The focus was on each of the potentially modifiable risk factors for sudden unexpected deaths in infancy, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and fatal sleeping accidents. In particular infant sleeping position, covering of the face, exposure to cigarette smoke, room sharing, unsafe sleeping environments, bed sharing, immunisation, breastfeeding, pacifier use and Indigenous issues were discussed in depth. The participants recommended that future ‘Reducing the Risk’ campaign messages should focus on back to sleep, face uncovered, avoidance of cigarette smoke before and after birth, safe sleeping environment, room sharing and sleeping baby in own cot.