By Katie Kovaleski
How to keep your little ones safe from SIDS
October is national SIDS awareness month and although it’s being highlighted this month, it’s important to stay educated and diligent all year. Here are tips, guidelines and recommendations to keep your little ones safe and reduce the occurrence of SIDS.
What is SIDS?
SIDS stands for sudden infant death syndrome and afflicts up to 2,000 babies per year. TheCDC defines SIDS as “the sudden death of an infant less than 1 year of age that cannot be explained after a thorough investigation is conducted that includes a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and a review of the medical history.” (http://www.cdc.gov/features/sidsawarenessmonth/, 2014)
What Can You Do To Keep Your Baby Safe?
Even with extensive research, definitive causes of SIDS are not known but there are definitely measures that can be taken to help reduce the rate of SIDS and keep your children safe.
The CDC recommends:
- Always place babies on their backs to sleep for every sleep.
- Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet.
- Have the baby share your room, not your bed. Your baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or on a chair alone, with you, or with anyone else.
- Keep soft objects such as pillows and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area.
- Prevent exposure to smoking during pregnancy and after birth because these are important risk factors for SIDS. The risk of SIDS is even stronger when a baby shares a bed with a smoker. To reduce risk, do not smoke during pregnancy, and do not smoke or allow smoking around your baby
Consistency Is The Key To Prevention
It’s also important to note that most SIDS deaths occur under 4 months of age. Being consistent with the guidelines outlined above can go a long way in reducing the occurrence of SIDS and keeping your child safe. It can be difficult when you and your little ones are tired and sleep deprived so preparedness with sleep environment can go a long way in keeping your child safe. Establishing a healthy and safe sleep environment and routine will make being consistent a whole lot easier. And of course, we are also here to help guide you with tips on soothing routines, gentle sleep training methods, and how to create a safe, sleep conducive environment.
Further SIDS prevention information can be found on the The American Academy of Pediatrics website & you can also “learn more about safe sleep environments and reducing the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths by reading the NICHD publication What Does a Safe Sleep Environment Look Like?” (http://www.cdc.gov/features/sidsawarenessmonth/, 2014)