Lower your child’s risk of SIDS
October is SIDS Awareness Month, so health enews is sharing tips on how to reduce your baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), SIDS is the unexpected death of seemingly healthy babies under the age of 1. It is the leading cause of death among infants aged 1-12 months, with more than 2,200 deaths annually. It is diagnosed when no other cause of death can be determined by investigation, autopsy or the baby’s medical history.
Babies who get too hot are at greater risk of SIDS, according to the journal Pediatrics published by the AAP. Pediatricians caution new parents to avoid the temptation of “overheating” their babies at bedtime.
“Your baby should be wearing the same amount of clothing as that of an adult in that temperature,” says Dr. Aaron Traeger, a pediatrician with Advocate Medical Group Primary & Urgent Care in Normal, Ill. “Extra heaters, extra blankets aren’t necessary. If you’re comfortable in the room, your baby is, too.”
While the exact cause of SIDS remains unknown, the AAP has identified several measures that can reduce the risk. In addition to preventing overheating, the AAP strongly recommends:
- Always put babies to sleep on their backs, rather than on their tummies or sides. Remember: “back to sleep, tummy to play,” Dr. Traeger says. “Tummy time should be celebrated and played as much as possible during the day when your baby is awake.”
- Place babies on a firm sleep surface with a tight, fitted sheet. Never put a baby to sleep on a chair, sofa, water bed or cushion.
- Keep soft objects, loose bedding and bumper pads out of the crib. “No stuffed animals, no toys, no extra blankets,” Dr. Traeger cautions. These items increase the risk of entrapment, suffocation or strangulation.
- Place your baby to sleep in the same room as you, but not in the same bed. Babies can get tangled in sheets or blankets or a parent can roll on top of them while asleep.
- Breastfeed your baby as much and as long as you can.
- Stay current with all of your baby’s immunizations.
- Keep your baby away from tobacco smoke. If you smoke, try to quit. Until then, keep your car and home smoke-free.
- Offer your baby a pacifier at naptime or bedtime. Some babies won’t take a pacifier, but for those who will, be sure that the pacifier doesn’t have a cord or other attachment that could cause strangulation.
- Avoid products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS. “Baby monitors that claim to reduce or prevent SIDS have not been shown to be effective and are unnecessary,” Dr. Traeger says.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.
I kinda disagree with the idea of putting babies to sleep on their backs. I have four kids and now a granddaughter and i have always put them to sleep on their tummies. The reason i disagree is because babies some time choke while sleeping because they may burp, cough, or have a cold that may cause them to spit up and get choked. If you are not around when this happens while they are on their backs it can be an awful situation. I have witnessed this and this is why I disagree with putting kids to sleep on their backs. Mine slept on the sides and tummies. This is just my opinion.
I know it’s easy to THINK they will choke-but they will NOT. There is no evidence that supports that. Meanwhile-many babies DO die from sleeping on their stomach. Please, please, PLEASE make sure all of your babies sleep Alone, on their Backs, in their Cribs (or remember ABC). This is what all of the evidence and doctors support. Babies can get their ‘tummy time’ supervised during the day. I am a public health practitioner so I am sorry I’m a little passionate but I have seen the cases of dead babies and want you to take precautions against that.
Please take a look at this webpage that discusses the anatomy of back sleeping and how it may be protective of the infants airway. Please consider the evidence that newer recommendations are based on. SIDS has decreased worldwide over 50% and over 60% in IL since the back to sleep campaign and safe sleep recommendations were started (in the last 15-20 years). Infants may also rebreathe their own carbon dioxide from being face down in their own bedding. SIDS is most common under six months and infants under this age may be unable the reposition themselves when their carbon dioxide increases in their body or environment. Research has not shown any increases in problems related to spitting up or choking for healthy infants in the back sleeping position. Infants that usually sleep on thier back are at an even higher risk of SIDS when caregivers place them on their tummies. Please be careful.
It is hard to switch from putting babies on their stomachs to their backs sense this has been done for centuries. If there is studies that support this than it wouldn’t be hard for me to change for my babies safety.