Put infants on back best protection against SIDS
It is literally the worst thing new parents can experience. Mom and Dad enter a darkened nursery to check on their sleeping newborn. They discover, inexplicably, that their beloved child isn’t breathing. Unbeknownst to them, she has died in her sleep.
Each year, about 5,000 babies die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is the sudden and unexplained death of an infant younger than 1 year. It is the major cause of death in babies from 1 month to 1 year of age.
Doctors don’t know what causes SIDS, but they do know of things you can do to make your baby safer.
Babies Should Sleep On Their Backs
For years, it was believed that babies should sleep on their tummies. Now, it has been documented in numerous studies that fewer babies will die of SIDS if they sleep on their backs, said researcher, neonatologist at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women.
Some mothers worry that babies sleeping on their back may choke on spit-up or vomit during sleep. There is no evidence that sleeping on the back causes choking.
“Parents need to put babies on their backs,” researcher said. “It’s the only thing shown to make any difference.”
In 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that infants be placed to sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS. Since that time, the annual SIDS rate has decreased by more than 50 percent.
Your baby also can be placed on her side. The side position does not provide as much protection against SIDS as back sleeping, but it is much better than placing your baby on her tummy.
Keep Bedding Items Simple
Your baby should sleep on a firm mattress. Do not use fluffy blankets or comforters in the crib. Don’t let the baby sleep on a waterbed, sheepskin, a pillow, or other soft materials. When your baby is very young, don’t place stuffed toys or pillows in the crib with her. Some babies have smothered with these soft materials in the crib.
Other Steps You Can Take
Room temperature. Babies should be kept warm, but not too warm. Keep the temperature in your baby’s room so that it feels comfortable to you.
Don’t smoke. No one should smoke around your baby. Babies and young children exposed to smoke have more colds and other diseases, as well as an increased risk of SIDS.
Take your baby to the doctor. If your baby seems sick, call your doctor right away. Make sure your baby receives her immunizations on schedule.
Prenatal care. Early and regular prenatal care can also help reduce the risk of SIDS. The risk is higher for babies whose mothers smoked during pregnancy. Also, don’t use alcohol during pregnancy and only use drugs as prescribed by a doctor.
Breastfeeding. If possible, you should breastfeed your baby. Breast milk helps to keep your baby healthy.
Despite the sad reality of SIDS, remember to enjoy your baby. Most children are born healthy and most stay that way. Don’t let the fear of SIDS spoil your joy and enjoyment of having a new baby.