As parents, SIDS can be a scary thought. We hear so many stories of infants and young children unexpectedly losing their life to this awful nightmare. No parent wants this to become a reality in their home.
Many of us will spend night losing sleep, worrying whether or not our children are sleeping safely and soundly. It’s a scary thought and the fact that you worry speaks volumes as to your care as a parent.
Take a deep breath and listen closely. You are a good parent and you are doing everything you can to care for that baby and prevent SIDS. Now, take a step back and let it go.
If you’re still worried, we have some information that may just help ease your fears.
The title SIDS is an acronym for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. This terminology is used for unexplained deaths that happen while a healthy infant is sleeping. This attacks and there is no noticeable medical explanation as to what happened. SIDS is most likely to affect infants between 1-6 months of age but could potentially affect older ages as well.
On an annual basis, approximately 2,500 infants die of SIDS. Considering that there are more than 4 million babies born annually, this stands to reason that death by SIDS is actually quite rare.
In 1994, a campaign known as “Back to Sleep” was launched. This campaign educates parents on why infants should sleep on their backs for utmost safety. While you might think your infant will only be happy on their side or belly, the back is the safest place for them to be.
Since the time of this campaign, the rate of SIDS has dropped by nearly half, which portrays just how accurate the information truly is.
There is also research that shows that SIDS is potentially linked to delayed or abnormal brain development. In these developmental delays, the infant is not triggered to reposition when they move their heads in a way that causes a breathing obstruction.
Thankfully, we are not without hope. There are things you can do to reduce the likelihood of SIDS happening in your home.
Strive for a Healthy Pregnancy
Trying to maintain a healthy diet and following recommended prenatal care can play a major difference in preventing premature births as well as low birth weight. These things are not always preventable but you can do your part to keep your pregnancy as healthy as possible.
Say No to Smoking
As a parent, it’s up to you to stand up for your infant. Exposure to cigarette smoke both before and after birth is a major contributing factor to SIDS. In fact, exposure to cigarette smoke can double the risk. Put your foot down and don’t allow smoking near your baby or you when you are pregnant.
When you lay the baby down, put them to sleep on their back. You can swaddle them to keep them comfortable but laying them on their back can reduce the risk of SIDS by 50%.
Safe Sleeping Environment
Do what you can to provide your baby with a safe sleeping environment. Be mindful of laying the baby down on soft surfaces that they might sink into. These surfaces include super-soft bedding, couches, and beanbags. Be sure there are not any soft materials surrounding your infant that could have an effect.
What About Co-Sleeping?
It’s hard to take a position as to whether or not co-sleeping increases the risk of SIDS or not. Experts seem to be divided on the topic.
While there is not a lot of definitive information, we recommend that your baby sleeps in their own safe bed space. This will not only make sure that your baby is in the safest sleeping environment designed for them but it also teaches them how to sleep independently as well.
If you do decide to co-sleep, just be sure to do it safely. Do not pile pillows and blankets around the infant.
Follow these simple tricks to protect your baby to the best of your ability. And stop worrying so much! Enjoy these times and know that you are doing everything you can.