SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, kills one out of every 2,000 babies. Over the past decade the occurrences of SIDS has dropped dramatically in half, due largely to the push to educate parents to put their babies to sleep on their backs. However, despite this spectacular decrease, more needs to be done and reduce the risk even further.
By following these 10 prevention tips you can increase your child’s chances of avoiding SIDS:
- Lay your baby on their back. Cases of SIDS radically decrease for babies who sleep on their backs. This may be difficult if they sleep better on their tummy, but the rule of thumb is to let them play on their tummy and sleep on their back.
- Swaddle your baby. By properly swaddling your baby they will feel warm and comforted, but will be unable to get their arms loose in order to roll over and move around in the crib. The chance of them pressing their face into the mattress is slim. Make sure that you receive hands-on instruction regarding proper swaddling so they they are tightly wrapped and the blanket does not come loose during the night.
- Keep the room at a comfortable temperature. By keeping the room at a comfortable temperature, there is less need to use a blanket that could end up over their face. If they are too cold, they will not sleep well and will try to roll up into the fetal position. When the room is too warm, they can begin to sweat and their breathing could become labored.
- Put a fan in the room to circulate the air. According to a study released by Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, babies who sleep in a room with a fan were 72% less likely to die from SIDS. The fan circulates the air in the room and prevents the baby from rebreathing carbon dioxide.
- Don’t put toys and pillows in the crib. By keeping soft things out of the crib, like pillows, blankets, plush toys, bumpers, and lambskins, you will reduce the chance that the baby’s face gets pressed up next to one of them and is unable to breathe.
- Use a pacifier at bedtime. The handle of the pacifier will prevent their face from becoming pressed into the mattress.
- Co-sleeping with your baby is not recommended. Adult beds are not safe for infants. The baby’s head can be trapped between the headboard and the mattress. Another concern is that a parent could inadvertently roll over and block the baby’s nose and mouth.
- Bring the crib into your room for the first 6 months. According to the American SIDS Institute, studies have shown that babies are safest when sleeping close to their mothers.
- Breastfeed your baby for the first 6 months, if possible. According to the Mayo Clinic, their research shows that any amount of breastfeeding helps prevent SIDS, but the preventive effect if strongest if you breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months. Breast milk is digested easier and lowers the chance for certain infections, such as respiratory and gastrointestinal.
- Make sure that you buy a firm mattress that fits snugly into the crib frame. A firm mattress will prevent your baby from sinking into the mattress and blocking their airway or compressing the mattress and getting caught between the mattress and the crib frame.
This is a guest post by Newborn Care, helping parents care for their newborn.
Photo by Gosia Rother/Flickr