Every year, thousands of babies die in their sleep for no obvious reason. This is known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or 'cot death'.
Now scientists have come up with a special pyjama suit – known as Mamagoose - that can send out a warning if the baby stops breathing. The pyjamas are based on a 'smart' suit that was developed to monitor the motion of astronauts in the early 1990's.
The suit includes five sensors that continuously monitor babies while they sleep. Three of them check the infant's heartbeat and two more monitor breathing.
The sensors are built into the cloth and have no direct contact with the body, so there is no discomfort for the baby.
The sensors are linked to a miniaturised computer. At the first sign that the baby has stopped breathing, the computer sounds an alarm to alert the parents.
The pyjamas are made of two parts. The lining, which comes into direct contact with the baby, can be machine-washed. The other part, which contains the sensor system, can be washed by hand. The pyjamas come in three sizes and are made of non-allergic material.
A cheaper version, known as Babyguard, is now being developed in Belgium and will be sold in shops so that parents can rest easy when their babies are asleep.