A known concern for parents of new babies is the risk of SIDS. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), is the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a baby under age 1. It is the leading cause of death in infants and most commonly occurs between 2 and 4 months old. Although SIDS can’t be 100% prevented, there are a lot of ways to greatly minimize the chances.
- Put your baby on his back to sleep. Through the 1994 Back to Sleep campaign, parents are encourage to lay baby down on their back to sleep as it’s safer than their side or stomach. Fortunately, there are less cases of SIDS today because of people following this advice.
- Help avoid thermal stress/ getting overheated by providing a comfortable room temperature that isn’t too warm. Also, avoid excessive blankets and be sure the head is uncovered.
- Cosleeping and bedsharing is not recommended. While bedsharing may not increase the chance of SIDS, your child may not be considered protected. A good alternative is a nearby cradle or crib.
- Avoid smoking around the baby indoors/ outdoors and during pregnancy. This is known to cause more of a risk for SIDS.
- Consider breastfeeding as it is thought to protect against SIDS.
- Offer a pacifier. Studies have shown that the use of a pacifier reduces the risk of SIDS in infants when given to the baby at nap/ bedtime.
- Put baby to sleep on a firm mattress with a tight mattress sheet without any soft objects such as loose bedding, pillows, stuffed animals, etc.
- A sleep sack/ wearable blanket may be a good idea and is also recommended by the leading SIDS and safety organizations.
- Make sure other caregivers such as babysitters/ daycare know of these ways to prevent SIDS.
- Avoid putting baby on soft surfaces to sleep such as a waterbed, bean bag, or pillows.
Additional resources that give helpful information about SIDS and prevention:
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome- MayoClinic.com
- Back to Sleep Campaign
- American SIDS Institute
- For local information see Utah SIDS updates