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Taking Steps To Lower SIDS Risk

Taking Steps To Lower SIDS Risk

Every parent worries about their baby and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). SIDS is a mysterious condition that kills babies less than one year of age suddenly and unexpectedly. It is most common between the ages of one and four months, although doctors aren't sure why. There is nothing you can do to completely eliminate the risk of SIDS, but there are certain precautions you can take to lower your baby's risk.

The best way to lower SIDS risk is to always put your baby to sleep on her back, instead of the side or stomach. Since the Back to Sleep campaign, which aimed at informing parents about the importance of babies sleeping on their backs, SIDS has drastically decreased. Make sure that all caregivers who might be putting your baby to bed put her on her back in the crib.

Avoid items that could cause choking or suffocation. Never let your baby sleep on a waterbed, and remove stuffed animals and toys from her crib before she sleeps. Very young infants lack the ability to turn their heads if an object is interfering with their breathing, and can suffocate on toys or even bedding.

Physicians believe that overheating may put babies at an increased risk for SIDS. You should avoid overdressing your child for sleeping, or from putting too many blankets or quilts in the crib. Make sure that the room temperature is comfortable and not too hot before the baby goes to bed.

While many parents sleep with their babies, this has also been linked to higher incidences of SIDS. You should keep the baby in a nearby crib or bassinet, rather than sleeping with her in your bed. It's believed that parents can accidentally smother the child while sleeping, so putting the baby in her own bed can reduce the SIDS risk.

Smoking is never a good idea for pregnant or nursing mothers. Smoking during pregnancy is thought to increase the risk of SIDS, and more so if you smoke once the baby is born. Even going outside for a cigarette isn't enough, and even small amounts of second-hand smoke can be very damaging to your baby's small lungs.

There are many health advantages to breastfeeding your baby, and one of those might be a decreased risk for SIDS. It's recently been found that pacifiers might also help, so it's now recommended that babies sleep with a pacifier for their first year of life.

Despite these medical findings, there are still over 2,000 babies who die in the United States every year from SIDS. That's why it's of the utmost importance for parents to take these precautions, and be aware of continuously updating recommendations and advice for preventing the risk of SIDS.


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