Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is something that gave me nightmares as a new parent. Like most in my “class,” I didn’t know much about the syndrome, well, aside from some things I heard through 20/20 or Dateline specials. What I did know was that it was sudden, involved infants, and caused death. Yeah.
But when I had my first daughter, I began to learn more about SIDS. I began doing research and reading beyond the, sometimes, terrifying news stories, to learn what I could do to create a safe sleeping environment for my child. And with this, I began to fear less.
What is SIDS?
Well, SIDS, or “crib death” (since it commonly happens in a crib) is a term used to describe the sudden death of an infant under 1 that “remains unexplained after a complete investigation.”
According to government figures, about 3,000 babies die of SIDS each year. Most of these babies are between 2 and 4 months. SIDS is more common in colder months. Twice as many African American babies as Caucasian babies die from SIDS. And, when comparing boys and girls, SIDS is more common in boy infants.
How Can I Reduce the Risk of SIDS?
So what can you do to reduce the risk of SIDS in your baby? Here are some tips that you should keep in mind when putting your baby to sleep.
Place your baby to sleep on his back. As encouraged by the “Back to Sleep” campaign, babies should be placed to sleep on their backs during their first year of life. When your baby begins to roll, you shouldn’t worry as much about them turning on their tummies in their sleep, but you should make it a goal to put your baby down on their back first.
Place your baby to sleep on a firm mattress. Fluffy, pillow top surfaces make for an increased risk of suffocation, so most experts advise that parents just stick to firm surfaces without loose bedding and bumpers.
Keep the temperature in your baby’s room cool. Watch for signs of overheating, such as sweating and damp hair. In general, you’ll want to keep your baby’s room between 65 – 72 degrees f.
Do not smoke during pregnancy. Numerous studies in recent years have linked smoking during pregnancy (or after pregnancy) as a factor possibly responsible in some SIDS deaths.
Avoid products that promise that they can reduce the risks of SIDS. None of these products have tested for effectiveness or safety. So don’t waste your money.
While SIDS remains an unexplained phenomena, adhering to these tips have been proven to reduce the risk of SIDS in infants.
Saturday 9th of June 2012
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