Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
The number of sudden infant death syndrome cases, which is also known as cot death or crib death, has dropped significantly in recent years. Even so, the syndrome is responsible for the death of around 1,500 babies in the US every year.
Sudden infant death syndrome refers to the unexplained and unexpected death of an infant aged under 1-year old, usually while the child is sleeping. The cause of SIDS is unknown, but experts have discovered steps that you can take to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome occurring.
Sadly, there is no way to 100% guarantee protection against SIDS. You can, though, take steps that have been proven to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Here the steps that parents can take to help prevent SIDS from occurring.
1. Place Baby on Back to Sleep
In the first year of life, it is safer if babies sleep on their backs rather than their sides or stomach. So always place your child on his or her back when you put them down to sleep. Avoid allowing your baby to sleep for too long in a stroller or car seat as well. And make sure that anyone else who might take care of your child knows that your baby should sleep on his or her back. Once the baby has learned to roll over both ways, you can let the child choose their sleeping position.
2. Use a Flat, Bare Crib
Use a crib with a flat, firm mattress, and keep the crib clear of toys, pillows, and blankets. A baby does not need things like sheepskin, pillows, and blankets in their crib to sleep; all they need is a flat mattress and a sheet over them. Thick or fluffy bedding and soft toys might cause smothering or suffocation.
3. Never Smoke Around a Baby
Smoking while pregnant has been proven to increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome by as much as three times, and smoking around a newborn also poses a significant risk. So, the message here is clear; quit smoking if you are pregnant. And never smoke around your children or allow other people to smoke when your children are present.
4. Breastfeed If You Can
Studies have shown that babies who are breastfed for the six months of life are 50% less likely to die from SIDS. Experts are unsure why this is so, but it is thought to be a result of the extra protection against diseases and infections that breast milk provides. If you do breastfeed your baby, do not drink alcohol, because that too has been shown to increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
5. Do Not Rely on baby Monitors
While baby monitors can be useful when your child gets a bit older, you should not rely on any claims that a product can help prevent SIDS. Products like baby monitors and heart rate monitors can give parents a false sense of security, and they should not be used in place of parental diligence.
6. Have Your Baby Sleep in Your Room
The best place for a baby to sleep is in a crib or a bassinet in your bedroom. Ideally, a baby should sleep in the parent’s room for the first six months to a year. If your baby sleeps in the same room as you, it will be easier for you to keep an eye on your child. And you will be more likely to hear if your baby gets into any difficulties.
7. Do Not Let a baby Sleep in Your Bed
While a baby should be sleeping in your bedroom, they should not be sleeping in your bed. If a baby sleeps in the parent’s bed, the infant may get too hot, they may suffocate in the bedding, and the adult might roll over onto the child.
8. Don’t Let the Baby Get Too Hot
Overheating is believed to be a factor in sudden infant death syndrome, so do not let your baby get too hot when they are sleeping. The best things for babies to sleep in are lightweight onesies or sleep sack. Blankets can cause overheating, and the baby might get tangled up in a blanket. If you keep the room temperature at a level that would be comfortable for an adult, it will be warm enough for a baby to sleep without a blanket.
9. Considering Giving Your Baby a Pacifier
There is evidence to suggest that babies who suck on a pacifier at night have a lower risk of SIDS. So, offer your baby a pacifier when you put them to bed, but do not force it if the child is not interested. If the pacifier falls out of the baby’s mouth when they fall asleep, though, do not put it back in the baby’s mouth. And, do not coat the pacifier with alcohol, honey, or any other flavoring, because it is unnecessary, and it could be dangerous.
10. Do Get Your Baby Immunized
Finally, no evidence supports the theory that not getting a baby immunized reduces the risk of SIDS. There is, however, some evidence that suggests that routine immunizations lessen the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
SIDS is one of Parent’s worst nightmares, so we hope that you found these sudden infant death syndrome precautions helpful. If you did find the page useful, please do share it with your friends on social media.
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