One of the sweetest pleasures for a parent is putting your baby down for bed. But it’s also a practice parents need to pay special attention to in order to ensure safety for their little one. October is National SIDS Awareness Month and we’re here to help new (and veteran) mamas know the facts about SIDS so that you can do everything you can to protect your tiny tot.
SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, occurs in infants under 1 year of age. According to the Center for Disease Control, SIDS is the leading cause of death for babies from 1 to 12 months of age. There is no known cause of SIDS, however there are many factors that researchers suggest could play a role in the onset of SIDS. These include baby breathing the same air she just released (causing a buildup of carbon dioxide in baby’s body), over-heating, and problems with baby’s ability to wake herself up. The good news is that the rate of SIDS has dropped significantly in the last 20 years due to recent guidelines. You can reduce the risk of SIDS by implementing just a few simple checks in your bedtime routine.
• Back to sleep
One of the most important factors in reducing your baby’s risk of SIDS is how she sleeps. The preferred position is on her back because it reduces the risk of apnea (pauses in breathing), and re-inhalation of baby’s own breath.
• Mattress matters
Another way you can help reduce your risk is using a firm mattress in baby’s crib to be sure that it doesn’t pose a suffocation or overheating hazard. (Sleeping with siblings is also considered unsafe.)
• Breast easy
Though not an option for every mom, breastfeeding does significantly lower a baby’s risk of SIDS. The same goes for up-to-date immunizations.
• Shut out smoke
Keep baby away from cigarette smoke to keep her safe (both while you’re pregnant and after she’s born).
It’s important to stay connected, especially if you or someone you know has suffered a SIDS diagnosis. It can be heart wrenching news; however there are some outlets that offer major support. The Safe to Sleep Campaign, designed to educate people on ways to reduce the risk of SIDS, is a helpful resource for parents, caregivers, and anyone who might be wondering how to help their little one steer clear from SIDS. Reach out to other people in your area if you need support, and don’t be afraid to ask. You’re never alone.
If you are interested in being a SIDS advocate in educating people on how to reduce the risk of SIDS, you can visit the National SUID/SIDS Resource Center to learn more on how to become a trainer.
Want more? Our article “What every parent should know about SIDS” has more info on the best ways to lower your baby’s risk of SIDS and help maintain safe sleeping practice for your infant.