One of the most devastating things to happen with a newborn is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). This occurs when a seemingly healthy baby dies in it’s sleep, due to spontaneous lack of breathing. This always happens within the first year of life and most commonly occurs in a crib. While there is no known cause, there are those babies that are at higher risk and ways to prevent it from occurring.
The most important thing is to place your baby on their BACK TO SLEEP. Sleeping positions like on their stomach, sides, with their parents, or on fluffy blankets or mattresses put a baby at a much higher risk for SIDS due to smothering.
Babies who are born with brain abnormalities, low birth weight, or respiratory infections are more likely to have SIDS occur and parents should be hyper vigilant if told by a doctor their baby has any of these. Other risk include sex (boys are more likely), age (within the second and third month of life is most common), race (black, american indian, and alaskan natives are more likely), secondhand smoke exposure, and gestational age (premature). If a baby has any of these, parents should also be cautious.
The only ways to prevent SIDS is modifying sleeping position and being vigilant.
- Babies should always be placed on their backs with NO loose fluffy blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, etc.
- Baby monitors should be utilized and parents should take turns checking on their baby (making sure the baby is still on their back, no blanket is near their face, and they are still breathing comfortably)
- Babies should be burped after each feed (breast or bottle) to prevent spitting up and choking
SIDS is devastating and hard to cope with because of its sudden and unexplained nature. Being informed and vigilant is a parent’s best chance at preventing it.
Just remember BACK TO SLEEP
Following is a video with summary: