Most parents who are familiar with SIDS may think of this condition as their worst nightmare. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) refers to the sudden and unexpected death of an apparently healthy baby. It typically occurs for babies 12 months and younger with no warning signs or clear reason.
An estimate of 3,500 babies dies from sleep-related deaths every year. The three most frequently reported causes of these deaths are accidental suffocation, bed strangulation, and cause unknown.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is one of the leading causes of death in infants from ages 1 month to 1 year old, but it can also happen to children 2- to 4-year-olds.
Here are five ways to prevent SIDS.
- Back to sleep
Babies should be placed on their back as their sleeping position until they reach 12 months and over.
It is important to remember that SIDS is more likely to occur when the baby sleeps on their side or their stomach. These positions can result in your baby’s face ending up on the mattress or sleeping area, which can smother them.
Do not let your baby sleep in a stroller, a car seat, a baby seat, or swing for long periods. It is best to get them out and lay them on a flat surface or in their beds.
- Use proper bedding
A firm mattress and a clutter-free space is the recommended sleeping area for your baby. The bed should be covered in a fitted sheet with no fluffy blankets, comforter, or soft toys near them as they sleep.
Having soft items in a crib or near them while they are asleep can cause suffocation.
- Eliminate smoking
Babies whose mothers smoked during pregnancy can suffer from SIDS three times more than babies who are born to nonsmoker mothers.
Smoking during and after pregnancy is a major factor for SIDS. Secondhand smoke around your baby also increases their chance of having SIDS. For these reasons, we recommend cutting out any form of smoking around babies and during pregnancy.
- Do not share a bed
It is a best practice for babies to sleep in a crib or bassinet for the first six months of life. Adult beds are not safe to sleep in during their first months.
As tempting it may be, avoid putting your baby to sleep in a bed with others or even yourself. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends for infants to sleep close to their parent’s bed but in a different crib or bassinet. Babies can be fed but they should be placed back in their crib when they fell asleep.
- Know CPR and first aid training
Babies who have stopped breathing due to SIDS cannot always be brought back to life with CPR. However, it is possible to revive them when CPR is performed on time.
For infants in a cardiorespiratory arrest, the first priority is to deliver a primary survey or the ABCs (Airway, Breathing, Circulation). Other medical interventions should also be appropriate.
Learning about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is important not only for parents but others who will be around infants. It should be on everyone that will be caring and looking after the welfare of an infant. These include grandparents, uncles, aunts, babysitters and everyone who will be in contact with an infant should know about SIDS and first aid treatment to prevent it.
Although there is no exact way to tell if your baby will suffer from SIDS, knowledge of first aid prevention can help lower a baby’s risk.
First Aid Pro offers Childcare CPR for babysitters and CPR for parents who want to learn the basics of first aid for infants.