Dealing with SIDS risks
What Is SIDS?
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden and unexplained death of an infant under one year of age.
SIDS, sometimes known as crib death, is the major cause of death in babies from 1 month to 1 year of age. SIDS, strikes nearly 6,000 babies in the United States every year. Most SIDS deaths occur when a baby is between 1 and 4 months old. More boys than girls are victims, and most deaths occur during the fall, winter and early spring months.
The death is sudden and unpredictable; in most cases, the baby seems healthy. Death occurs quickly, usually during a sleep time.
After 30 years of research, scientists still cannot find one definite cause or causes for SIDS. There is no way to predict or prevent SIDS. But, as this brochure describes, research has found some things that can help reduce the risk of SIDS
What you can do to reduce the risk of SIDS?
Put baby down to sleep on his or her back or side. One of the most important things you can do to help reduce the risk of SIDS is to place baby to sleep on his/her back. Do this when your baby is being put down for a nap or to bed for the night. This is new. Your mother was told and, if you have other children, you may have been told that babies should sleep on their tummy. Now, doctors and nurses believe that fewer babies will die of SIDS if most infants sleep on their back or side.
Check with your doctor or nurse. Most babies should steep on their back or side. But a few babies have health conditions that might require them to sleep on their tummy. If your baby was born with a birth defect, was born before your due date, often spits up after eating, or has a breathing, lung or heart problem, be sure to talk to a doctor or nurse about which sleep position to use. Keep in mind that some babies with health problems may need to sleep on their stomach. Speak to the doctor about the baby's sleep position.
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. Millions of babies around the world now sleep on their back or side and doctors have not found an increase in choking or other problems.
Some babies at first don't like sleeping on their back or side, but most get used to it. Talk to a nurse or doctor if you have questions about your baby's sleep.
Babies that can turn from back to front on their own should not be forced to stay on their back. Babies should be placed in a variety of positions while awake.
Make sure your baby goes to sleep on his or her back or side to help reduce the risk of SIDS. Babies should sleep on their back on their side, with the lower arm forward to stop them from rolling over onto their stomach
If you have any questions about your baby's sleep position or health, first talk to your doctor or nurse.
Other Things You Can Do to Help Prevent SIDS
Provide baby with smoke free surroundings. SIDS is more common among those babies who are exposed to smoke from tobacco products. Tobacco smoke is not good for baby. Babies and young children exposed to smoke have more colds and other diseases, as well as an increased risk of SIDS. Provide a smoke free environment to reduce the risk of SIDS. No one should smoke around baby.
Breast-feed baby. Studies have shown that breast feeding may reduce the risk of SIDS.
Do not overdress baby. Babies need to be kept warm, not hot. If the room temperature is right for you, it will be right for your baby. As a general rule, dress baby with the same amount of clothing that you are wearing. Keep the temperature in your baby's room so that it feels comfortable to you
Use the correct bedding for a baby. Baby should sleep on a firm mattress or other firm surface. Make sure there are no ledges or gaps into which the baby could fall. Do not place the baby to sleep on a waterbed, sheepskin, pillow, or any other soft materials. Do not use fluffy blankets or comforters under the baby. Do not place pillows or stuffed toys in the crib with young babies.
Doctor or clinic visits
If your baby seems sick, call your doctor or clinic right away. Make sure your baby receives his or her shots on schedule.
At the present time, there is no known way to predict or prevent a SIDS death. However, recent research has shown that these infant care practices may significantly reduce the risk of SIDS.
One of the most important things you can do to help reduce the risk of SIDS is to put your healthy baby on his or her back or side to sleep.
For more information about the Back to Sleep campaign, call free of charge, 1-800-505-2742.
This information is from the U. S. Public Health Service, American Academy of Pediatrics, SIDS Alliance and Association of SIDS Program Professionals.
Produced by the California SIDS Program · (800) 369-SIDS within California · (916) 536-0146 California Department of Health Services, Maternal and Child Health Branch
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