SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, kills nearly 3,000 babies each year. SIDS victims are babies, who appear to be perfectly healthy when their parents put them down for a nap or at bedtime, but never wake up. Needless to say, it’s a devastating and horrific tragedy that can happen to anyone at any time.
What causes SIDS
No one knows for sure what causes SIDS. If we did, the world would be a much better place. What we do know, however, is that SIDS victims stop breathing and lack the ability to alert themselves to start breathing again. We know that SIDS is most prevalent in babies between the ages of 2-4 months, but that there are more than a few cases each year in babies up to 1 year of age. We know that 3 out of 5 victims are boys, and that premature babies, low birth weight babies and babies who are exposed to cigarette smoke have greatly increased chances of dying from SIDS.
What should parents do
These are the seven things parents should keep in mind when trying to prevent SIDS from happening to their child:
- Most experts say that babies should sleep on their backs. Babies, who sleep on their backs, can inhale more fresh air (more oxygen) than babies who sleep on their stomachs. A few years ago, however, it was believed that babies should sleep on their stomachs to avoid choking on spit-up, which some believe gets into the lungs while sleeping and causes SIDS.
- Make sure your baby always sleeps on a firm mattress.
- Make sure you remove all fluffy bedding, stuffed animals and loose blankets from your baby’s bed while they are sleeping. Make sure their blankets are breathable, too, in case they wiggle under them or pull them over their head. Also, if you insist on using a bumper pad in your crib, use only those that are made of woven mesh-like fabrics that are breathable. Also, make sure the bumper pad is installed by weaving it in and out of the crib slats to make it tight and secure; unable to fall into your baby’s face.
- Make sure your baby’s room is cool, and not too warm or stuffy. Hot stuffy air makes it more difficult to breathe.
- While there is no definite proof, some research points to the fact that breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS. It provides a healthy start to your baby in so many other ways. Proof or not…it can’t hurt.
- Don’t put your baby in your bed to sleep with you. Too many covers that are too big for a baby add too much risk of rolling over on them or smothering them some other way.
- Let your baby use a pacifier to soothe themselves to sleep. The sucking reflex aids in consistent breathing.
It happens in the best of circumstances
While it is important for you to follow the safety guidelines for the prevention of SIDS, the fact is that some babies who die from SIDS die in spite of their parents doing everything right. Hopefully one day, we will know a definite cause for this tragic disease, which will lead to a definite cure.
Tell us if you have any more tips or ways to share with us!
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