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Aboriginal - sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Aboriginal; SIDS; sudden; infant; death; syndrome; ;


SIDS is when a baby suddenly dies in their sleep

We had a little baby. He was beautiful, healthy and strong. We put him to sleep - he wasn't sick.

When we woke up he was so still, not breathing. Now we sit here, really sad. Our family misses him, his smile and laugh. And we think every day, why did our little boy die?

More information

To find out a lot more about SIDS and other causes of sudden death of healthy babies have a look at our topic Sudden Unexpected Deaths in Infancy (including SIDS)

There are many ways that a family can help to stop a baby die from SIDS.

Putting your baby to sleep on her back

baby sleeping on their back - good way
baby sleeping on their side - wrong way


Keep your baby in your room at night

Make sure that your baby's face and head are not covered when she is asleep.

The best way to do this is to use a baby sleeping bag which is made so that the baby cannot slip inside the bag and become completely covered.

Make sure that your baby sleeps in a safe place

Make sure that your baby's cot or bed is in a safe place, that the mattress fits well and there is nothing that your baby's head, arms or lages can get caught in.

  • Do not sleep with your baby in your bed - sharing a sleeping surface with a baby has lead to the death of some babies.


  • It may help to give your baby a dummy to suck on during his sleep. If you are breast feeding, start giving a dummy after about 6 weeks of age (so that the breastfeeding goes well). Bottle fed babies can be given a dummy when they are younger than 6 weeks old.
  • A person who is drunk, using drugs, taking medicines that could make them sleep deeply or sniffing petrol should not sleep next to a baby. They might roll on the baby.

The information in this topic is reproduced (Copyright) with permission, Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi Aboriginal Corporation 

The 'Pipirri Palya - kids are good' project was funded under the 'Child Abuse Prevention and Parenting Support Program, Family Relationships Branch' of the Commonwealth Department of Family and Community Services, Canberra.

This project was designed by Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi Aboriginal Corporation located in Alice Springs and working across the Central Australian Remote Area Communities. Background images from Waltja's Walungurru's Mural Project.

Special Thanks
Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi's Management Committee, Executive, Staff and Publications Unit, the remote area Communities of Central Australia and the project worker, Teresa Butler-Bowdon.

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The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see a doctor, or ring the Parent Helpline on 1300 364 100 (local call cost from anywhere in South Australia).

This topic may use 'he' and 'she' in turn - please change to suit your child's sex.

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