Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is one of the leading causes of death for infants. All parents want to ensure the safety of their newborn. While no one knows the cause of SIDS, the infant crib death rate has significantly decreased over the years. Steps can be taken to prevent SIDS.
Here are four ways to help safeguard your baby and prevent tragedy in the home.
1. Make Sure Babies Sleep on Their Backs
The most common cause of SIDS is lack of air. Lying on the stomach can cause suffocation because the face is pinned down on the mattress, causing insufficient airflow and lack of oxygen. Laying babies on their side is also not advisable because they can easily roll to their stomachs. Some parents worry that laying their baby on their back can cause the baby to choke. However, this is not a major concern because most children can cough out or swallow any fluid that comes into the mouth.
The safest sleeping position for babies is on their back. It’s recommended that babies sleep on their backs for at least the first six months of life, although twelve months is ideal. It’s also important to share this information with caregivers and other relatives who spend time with your baby. It is estimated that one out five deaths occur when babies are with caregivers.
You can have monitored “tummy-time” sessions (where your infant lies on their stomach) when they’re awake and supervised. When your baby can comfortably roll over, you don’t have to worry about sleep position as much. This usually occurs after the first year.
2. Create a Designated Sleeping Space for Your Baby
Babies who co-sleep are at a higher risk of SIDS. It’s recommended that babies sleep in the parent’s room for at least the first six months. However, do not let your baby sleep in the same bed as you. Parents can accidentally roll onto their child, causing severe injury or even death.
Let your baby sleep in a crib next to your bed. This sleeping situation allows them to be close to you for night-time feedings and helps reduce the risk of SIDS. Do not let infants sleep in a baby carrier, sling, or car seat for long periods of time. When they fall asleep, move them to the crib to help reduce the risk of SIDS.
Do not cover your baby with blankets or sheets, as this is a suffocation risk. In fact, 25% of infant deaths are caused by accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed. Make sure to choose a safe crib for your baby. Remove all toys, pillows, and blankets from the crib at night and use baby sleep clothing or a wearable blanket that covers the baby’s body but leaves the arms and head uncovered.
3. Keep Yourself Healthy During and After Pregnancy
Mothers who are healthy and who receive regular medical care during pregnancy have better chances of delivering a healthy baby. To reduce the risk of SIDS, do not use tobacco, drugs, or alcohol when pregnant. Do not to let others smoke anywhere near the child to avoid second-hand smoke. Keep the air around your baby clean.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
When you have concerns or questions about your baby’s health or well-being, you should contact your child’s pediatrician. It’s okay to call your doctor and ask questions to help safeguard your child. It’s also important to do product research on items like cribs, car seats, and strollers to ensure you are buying safe and reliable items.
Because SIDS is one of the leading causes of death in infants, it’s essential to take the proper precautions and ensure your newborn is safe and secure—especially in the first months of life.