SIDS: 5 Important Recommendations for New Parents
Posted on October 12th, 2020
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also known as crib disease, is the sudden unexplained death in a baby less than one-year-old. SIDS has become less common in recent years due in part to the American Academy of Pediatrics Safe To Sleep's campaign to spread awareness. However, this rare condition still accounts for approximately 3,400 infant deaths per year. Experts are still working to find the exact cause of SIDS, and while it is not yet 100 percent preventable, there are steps you can take to help your baby sleep safely.
Place Your Baby on Their Back
Side or stomach sleeping is not ideal for an infant. During naptime and bedtime, always place your baby on their backs to sleep. Experts also recommend that infants do not sleep in strollers or car seats for long periods of time. Back sleeping helps your baby regulate their breathing, and allows them to spit up on their own.
Maintain a Comfortable Temperature
Make sure to keep the baby’s room on the cooler side to prevent overheating – anywhere from 65-70 degrees is ideal. Refrain from blankets and head coverings while they are sleeping, and try not to put their crib near a source of heat. If your baby’s chest feels hot or is sweating, it’s time to help them cool off.
Remove All Items from the Crib
Though you may want to adorn your young one’s cradle or bassinet with all things fluffy and soft, it is important to keep their sleeping area clear. Anything soft that they are able to move poses a potential risk for SIDS, including blankets and pillows. Stick to a fitted sheet over a firm, flat mattress.
Keep Crib Close By
The AAP recommends sleeping in the same room as your baby for at least the first 6 months of their life. Do not sleep in the same bed as your child, as this could possibly lead to suffocation. The risk for SIDS is highest at the 2-4 month period, and staying close by will help you address any issue quickly.
Use a Pacifier at Bedtime
Not only do pacifiers help soothe infants, but they are also thought to help reduce the risk of SIDS. If you are breastfeeding (which experts also recommend doing for as long as possible), it may be best to wait until you have fully established your breastfeeding regiment before you introduce a pacifier. Do not use a pacifier with any loop, string, or clip attached to it.
Keeping these precautions in mind in the early stages of your child’s life may reduce the risk of SIDS by more than 50 percent. Doctors also recommend limiting your child’s exposure to smoke and abstaining from alcohol during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Simple measures taken during this crucial period can help virtually eliminate the risk of this mysterious occurrence.