*Disclaimer-This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. You should always consult with your doctor before making any changes to your baby’s health or lifestyle. The following information may be disturbing. Reader discretion is advised.
Everyone wants to ensure their child’s safety. Staying up to date with current pediatric information can save your child’s life. This article informs readers about the prevention of Sudden infant death syndrome, also known as SIDS.
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death of a baby, usually less than one-year-old, that happens while they’re sleeping. It is sometimes called crib death because infants often die in their cribs. The cause of SIDS is unknown, but it may be related to problems in the area of an infant’s brain that controls breathing and waking up from sleep. SIDS is the leading cause of death for babies between one month and one year of age in the United States.
There is no way to guarantee children do not suffer from SIDS, but there are some things you can do to lower your baby’s risk. Here are 10 tips from experts and medical online sources:
- Always put your baby to sleep on their back, not on their stomach or side. This position makes it easier for them to breathe and reduces the risk of suffocation. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) launched its “Back to Sleep” campaign in 1994 to encourage parents to follow this recommendation. Since then, the rate of SIDS deaths has dropped by more than 50%.
- Use a firm and flat sleep surface, such as a crib or bassinet, with a tight-fitting sheet. Avoid soft or loose bedding, such as pillows, blankets, quilts, bumpers, stuffed animals or toys. These items can block your baby’s airway and increase the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related deaths.
Share your room with your baby, but not your bed. The AAP recommends that you keep your baby in the same room where you sleep, but on a separate surface, for at least the first six months of life. This can make it easier for you to breastfeed, comfort, and monitor your baby. However, you should not share your bed with your baby, as this can increase the risk of suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment.
- Avoid overheating your baby. Dress your baby in light clothing and keep the room temperature comfortable for adults. Do not use hats, caps, sweaters, or blankets that can make your baby too warm while sleeping. (If you must have a hat, ensure that it is a lightweight material. Overheating can increase the risk of SIDS.
- Using cotton pajamas or lowering your AC to 72 minimum will keep the baby cool. Never put a child to bed in a thermal, fleece, or thick wool suit. Check your child’s temperature in the outfit of your choice.
- Breastfeed your baby if possible. Breastfeeding has many benefits for both you and your baby, including reducing the risk of SIDS by about 50%. Try to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of life, and continue breastfeeding until at least one year of age. (The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until age 2.)
- Immunize your baby according to the recommended schedule. Vaccines can protect your baby from many serious diseases and infections that can increase the risk of SIDS. Studies have shown that immunized babies have a lower risk of SIDS than unimmunized babies.
Avoid at All Costs
- Avoid exposure to smoke, alcohol, and drugs. Smoking during pregnancy or after birth can increase the risk of SIDS by more than double. Secondhand smoke can also harm your baby’s health and increase the risk of SIDS. You should also avoid drinking alcohol or using drugs during pregnancy or after birth, as these substances can impair your ability to care for your baby and increase the risk of SIDS. Don’t take steroids while breastfeeding.
- Avoid giving honey to babies under one year old. Honey can contain spores that can cause infant botulism, a rare but serious illness that can affect breathing and increase the risk of SIDS. You should also store food properly and discard any food that looks spoiled or smells bad.
Use a pacifier when putting your baby to sleep. Some studies have shown that using a pacifier can reduce the risk of SIDS by up to 60%. However, you should not force your baby to use a pacifier if they don’t want it or it falls out during sleep. You should also wait until breastfeeding is well established before introducing a pacifier.
Inform Caretakers and Family
Educate anyone who cares for your baby about safe sleep practices. Make sure that grandparents, babysitters, daycare providers, older siblings and others who look after your baby know how to create a safe sleep environment and reduce the risk of SIDS. You can share this blog post with them or print out a safe sleep checklist from the CDC website.
By following these tips, you can create a safe sleep environment for your baby and reduce the risk of SIDS. Remember to share this information with anyone who cares for your baby, such as grandparents, babysitters, or daycare providers. If you have any questions or concerns about SIDS prevention or your baby’s health, talk to your pediatrician or healthcare provider. Please reach out to Triangle Learning Center to learn more about infant safety practices in our daycare.