By Amy Nash, MD
October is SIDS Awareness Month. Our patients’ families, especially new parents, often have questions about SIDS – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Since we don’t know what causes SIDS, it is important to know what you can do as a parent to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Back to Sleep
Always put your baby to sleep on his or her back. To prevent the head from flattening in the back, make sure your baby gets a good amount of tummy time when he or she is awake and supervised.
Firm Surface for Sleeping
Babies should sleep only on a firm mattress in a safety-approved crib, bassinet or portable play area with a fitted sheet. It is not as safe to use a car seat, swing or similar device for your baby’s everyday sleep area.
Separate Sleep Areas
While it’s fine for babies to sleep in their parents’ rooms, it is best to be in a crib or bassinet. Parents should know that sharing a bed with baby can increase the risk of SIDS.
No Bumpers or Soft Objects
Keep bumpers, toys, loose bedding and other objects out of the baby’s sleeping area.
Make sure your baby doesn’t get too hot when sleeping at night. It’s a good rule of thumb to dress your baby in only one layer more of clothing than an adult would wear to be comfortable. Babies who are too warm might sweat, have flushed or red cheeks, or breathe rapidly.
Research shows that babies of mothers who receive regular prenatal care, don’t use drugs or alcohol, and who don’t smoke are at a lower risk of SIDS. It’s also important not to allow smoke or tobacco from other sources around your baby.
Babies who are breastfed for the first six months of life are at a lower risk of SIDS.
Research shows that immunizations reduce the risk of SIDS by 50%. Make sure your baby receives regular check-up and follows the recommended schedule
Pacifier use is associated with a decreased risk of SIDS. If you baby doesn’t like a pacifier, you should not push the issue. However, if your baby finds a pacifier soothing, it is fine to use one for sleep as long as it is clean and not attached to clothing or a string.
Sources and for more detailed information:
Centers for Disease Control
Safe to Sleep Public Education Campaign
Always contact us with any questions or concerns.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.