Reducing the Risk of SIDS

This can be a difficult topic for some. Talking about the death of infants is hard, especially for someone who has experienced it in the past.

In lieu of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, I wanted to bring awareness and offer recommendations so that it may be prevented in the future.

So what is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?

SIDS is a term used to describe “the sudden and unexpected death of a baby less than 1 year old in which the cause was not obvious before investigation. These deaths often happen during sleep or in the baby’s sleep area.” (Center for Disease Control and Prevention).

This is a significant issue in the United States. Although SIDS rates were significantly higher in the 90s, in 2017 there were 3,600 deaths from SIDS.

There has been much awareness brought to the public regarding mothers falling asleep with their baby. I can see this issue being even more prevalent in breastfeeding mothers. Breastfeeding is so important to a newborn’s health. However, it is dangerous to fall asleep breastfeeding your newborn with no one else is the room. This is why I wanted to shed light on this topic.

The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) provides a number of recommendations to prevent SIDS and keep your baby safe while sleeping!

· Babies should sleep on their backs for all sleep times (up until their 1st birthday)

o When mothers are tired and need to sleep, the infant should be given to another caregiver or placed in the bassinet for sleeping

· Use a firm sleep surface

o A tightfitting, firm mattress and fitted sheet that meets the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is recommended to reduce the risk of SIDS

· Keep the baby’s sleep area (bassinet, crib) in the same room as yours for the first six months to one year.

o Room sharing can decrease the risk of SIDS and also makes caregivers feel safer and at ease

· Never place an infant on an adult bed, sofa, or couch to sleep

o These areas are considered dangerous for an infant to sleep.

· Never sleep in the bed with your baby.

o Bed sharing is considered dangerous. You and your infant should not sleep in the same bed together, especially for babies that are younger than 4 months or were born prematurely.

· Do not smoke around your baby

o Keep your baby away from people who smoke. Also, second hand smoke can cause harm to infants. Those that have smoked outside should change their clothes before holding the baby.

· Keep objects out of the baby’s sleep area

o Blankets, toys, pillows, bumpers, and other infant objects should not be in the baby’s sleep area (bassinet, crib).

I know this is a good bit of information all at once but I hope this helps! Below I have attached grief resources for families who have experienced the loss of an infant.

Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood Foundation (SUDC)

The Compassionate Friends

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