What makes Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) so terrifying is the fact that it strikes without rhyme or reason. It’s fast and affects even healthy infants, and there are still so many questions about the condition that need answers.
Unlike most conditions, SIDS rarely exhibit specific symptoms.
“Most SIDS diagnoses come only after all other possible causes of death have been ruled out through a review of the infant’s medical history, sleeping environment, and autopsy,” says a Kids Health article.
The strongest link that doctors have with SIDS is an infant’s sleeping habits and patterns.
Changing how an infant sleeps greatly reduces the risk of SIDS, such as letting them sleep on their backs instead of their stomachs.
Recently, however, experts have found a link between SIDS and daycare, particularly during the first week of daycare.
According to a Baby Centre article: “It’s notable that so many of the approximately 1,500 yearly SIDS deaths occur while babies are being cared for by a non-parent, because a child spends so much less time sleeping with the carer during the day than at night with parents.”
Another reason for this may have something to do with the stress that comes with the disruption of an infant’s sleep when transitioning into child care.
Infant deaths often occur when caregivers suddenly place babies to sleep on their stomach, babies who are used to sleeping on their backs. This “unaccustomed tummy sleeping” increases the risk of SIDS by 18 times.
Next page find out what you can do as a parent to prevent SIDS
During this period the levels of stress hormone called cortisol increases. Not only that, daytime and nighttime rhythms are also thrown off, further increasing the risk of SIDS.
“Babies are sensitive to change,” says Krista Cossalter Sandberg, Executive Director Northwest Infant Survival & SIDS Alliance.
“If they’ve always been put to sleep on their backs alone in the crib; if they’ve always been in a sleep sack and they’re suddenly given a blanket; if they’re put in a new sleep environment, there are issues.”
As a mother or a father, you should make sure that whoever is looking after your infant knows about the proper sleeping practices—whether they’re the daycare or a relative.
Meanwhile, SIDS experts are confident that employees of licensed daycares have had safe-sleep training.
“Some states have very rigorous standards, some do not. Unlicensed care is more of a roll of the dice. You don’t have the oversight of the state,” says Michelle McCready, Chief of Policy for Child Care Aware of America, the national member organisation for child care agencies.
According to her, parents should practice due diligence and do their own inspection.
“Make sure the area where your child sleeps has fitted sheets, a firm mattress, the temperature in the room is not too hot, the area should be visible to your caregiver.
“Children should not be put on tummies and there shouldn’t be any objects in the crib: blankets, toys.”
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