Sudden infant death syndrome commonly known as SIDS is the leading cause of death in the United States for babies between 1 month and 1 year old. SIDS is the diagnosis given when a baby under a year old dies suddenly without any explanation. Fortunately the incidence of SIDS has decreased dramatically in recent years. While nothing is guaranteed there are several precautions you can take to help keep your baby as safe as she can be.
1. If a baby sleeps on her stomach or side it has been found that the risks for SIDS is 1.7 to 12.9 times higher than if she sleeps on her back. When a baby sleeps on her stomach she’s more likely to have pauses in breathing and can possibly overheat. Make sure that everyone who cares for the child places her on her back when she’s going to sleep and never on her stomach. Putting an infant on their side is not that safe either because it’s very easy for them to roll over onto their stomach.
2. Make sure your baby is laying on a flat mattress with no pillow. Make sure there are no soft, loose, or fluffy items around her sleeping area. These items can cause your infant to overheat and breathe back in the air she just exhaled.
3. Never allow smoke near your infant. It is crucial that second hand smoke never reaches your baby.
4. Being overheated can substantially raise a baby’s risks of SIDS. The causes for becoming overheated can be wrapping too many blankets around her or being in an overheated room. Do everything that you can to keep her as cool as possible.
5. It is believed that breastfeeding babies are at a lower risk of becoming victim to SIDS.
6. It is safer to put your baby to sleep in her crib rather than sharing a bed with you.
7. Babies who use pacifiers up until the age of 6 months are also at a lower risk.
8. Make sure to take excellent care of your body when you are pregnant. You must do everything that you can, like going to a good doctor, so that your baby can be a healthy baby. Doing drugs and drinking alcohol while pregnant puts you at a very high risk for premature birth and a low birth weight, both of which can cause SIDS.
9. The risks of SIDS are much higher when a baby is born to a teen mother. Also, the smaller the time frame between pregnancies the higher the risk.
Unfortunately there are no symptoms or warning signs for SIDS, so the only way to protect your baby is to take all the preventative measures that you possibly can take.