SIDS is a medical disorder that baffles doctors as it remains unexplained; there is no known cause or cure and all possible causes of the disorder have been ruled out through autopsy, death scene investigation and medical history. SIDS claims the lives of nearly 2500 babies in the US from one month to one year of age. Luckily, researchers who are dedicated to unraveling the mystery of SIDS have made great strides in identifying deficits, behaviors and other factors that may put an infant at higher risk. Scientists are currently exploring the development and function of the nervous system, the brain, the heart, breathing and sleep patterns, body chemical balances, autopsy findings and environmental factors. People are working amazingly hard at reducing the number of babies who fall victim to SIDS every year; since 1992 when the Back To Sleep advisory was first introduced, the rate of SIDS has dropped more than 50% and has spared the lives of about 3,000 infants every year in the US.
While it’s true that any baby of any race, medical background and class can be affected by SIDS, there are some steps parents can take to reduce their baby’s risk.
- Place your baby on their back to sleep at night and naptime.
- Use a firm mattress, covered with only a sheet, in a safety-approved crib.
- Remove all soft and loose bedding from your baby’s sleep area, including pillows, blankets, comforters, bumper pads, sheepskins, positioners, toys and all other soft objects.
- Consider using a Halo SleepSack, a wearable blanket, or other type of sleeper as a safe alternative to loose blankets.
- Do not place your baby to sleep on a sofa, waterbed, pillow, soft mattress or any other soft surface.
- Keep your baby’s face clear of coverings.
- Be careful not to overheat your baby with excessive clothing, bedding or room temperature.
- Do not smoke or allow anyone else to smoke around your baby.
- Educate babysitters, day care providers, grandparents and anyone else who cares for your baby about reducing the risk of infant death.