Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, is the largest known cause of death in children under the age of one. This terrifying syndrome occurs while the baby is sleeping. To date there is no known cure, or reason for that matter, as to why some children are affected while others aren’t. But the simple fact is that over 2,500 babies die in the US each year from SIDS. Although the number of deaths have been lowered by around 40% by taking several preventative approaches and incorporating baby sleep safety methods to safe guard children from SIDS, there is no known way to fully avoid the occurrence of SIDS.
Baby Sleep Safety Tips
Here are some tips that can help to reduce the risk of SIDS:
*Lay baby on his or her back. SIDS has been closely linked to children sleeping on their tummies.
*Use a firm mattress. Avoid fluffy toys or pillows that may cause suffocation.
*Don’t let baby get over heated during the night. Babies have a higher body temperature than we do and don’t require as many blankets – Don’t let baby freeze either though!
*Don’t smoke, drink alcohol or take drugs before or after baby’s birth. Cigarette smoke is a known contributor to SIDS.
*Participate in early and parental care clinics, especially if you are a first time parent.
*Breast feed baby if at all possible. Babies that are breast-fed are statistically less likely to die from SIDS.
*Offer your baby a pacifier during the first year of life. It is not known why but babies that are given pacifiers in the early stages of life are less likely to be claimed by SIDS.
*Don’t sleep with baby in the same bed or let baby sleep in an adult bed. The baby has a greater risk of suffocation when in a bed designed for an adult. It is ok to comfort and feed baby in bed as long as he or she is returned to his or her proper bed afterward.
SIDS is unlike any other syndrome or disease. Most conditions surrounding an infant’s death are diagnosed by the symptoms associated with the death. SIDS on the other hand is only given as a diagnosis once all other possibilities are ruled out.
SIDS Risk Factors
There are several specific risk factors or notable trends that can be seen in data relating to SIDS. These risks should be addressed and noted by parents that have babies in a high-risk category.
*More boys than girls die from SIDS. There is not much that can be done about this statistic, it is more of a notation.
*Smoking, drinking alcohol and drug use are believed to be among the main contributing factors to SIDS. Simply put, if you value the life of your child, refrain from using harmful drugs such as these!
*Poor parental care. Inexperienced or young parents are the highest risk. As long as a parent takes the time to get early and regular parental care checks and have the support of family and friends, there is much less risk of this occurring.
*Premature babies are at a high risk of SIDS. Premature babies are born with a disadvantage to begin with and are usually very weak and under developed. This is more a notation than a prevention.
*Mothers who are younger that 20 are at risk of having a baby die from SIDS. This can be for a variety of reasons such as inexperience or unintentional neglect.
By using the above tips and making yourself aware of the risk factors and taking baby sleep safety precautions you can reduce the likelihood of losing a child to SIDS. For parents who have lost a child to SIDS there are many wonderful support groups available to help go through the grieving process.