How to reduce the risk of SIDS

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baby in crib

What is SIDS?

SIDS is an abbreviation of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. SIDS is also known as crib death because it is a sudden unexplained death of a baby while sleeping. Baby up to 12 months are at high risk of SIDS.

Can SIDS be prevented?

There is no set of rules which can be followed to prevent SIDS. Or, there is no guarantee that SIDS can be prevented. But, as parents, there are certain measures that can be taken to lower the chances of SIDS.

Reducing the risk of SIDS

Here are some of the things that can be done to reduce the risk of SIDS:

Place Baby to Sleep on their Back

When a baby is placed in their back when sleeping, the chances of suffocation decreases. This will then decrease the chances of SIDS as well. Once the baby can independently roll over both ways, they can sleep in any position that they like. So, you don’t have to worry about their sleeping position. But until the baby cannot roll over by themself, make sure the baby is always placed on their back while putting them to sleep. If the baby is kept sideways or on their tummy, there are higher chances that the baby will suffocate.

Don’t Overheat the Baby

Overheating can also be a cause of death among babies. So, keep the room temperature cool and dress your baby appropriately. Don’t dress them in layers of clothing that can overheat the babies. If you want to use warm clothing, lower the room temperature more. It is always better to make the baby sleep in a cooler room. Overheating imposes many risks.

Don’t keep anything in the crib

Keep the crib as empty as possible. Don’t place any think bedding, blankets, toys, etc in the crib. If you get a crib bumper, make sure it is a breathable one and not a thick and fluffy one, which can cause suffocation. Blankets and toys also impose the risk of SIDS, as babies might not be able to move over these items if they accidentally happen to cover their mouth or nose. Placing anything in the crib can interrupt breathing, so avoid anything in the crib.

Use a firm mattress

It is important to use a firm mattress in the baby’s crib. This will reduce the chances of SIDS. If the mattress is firm the chances of suffocation are also less.

Don’t make the baby sleep in your bed with you

Putting your baby to sleep in the bed with you is extremely risky. Adult beds are not safe for newborns and infants. They can get trapped in the headboard, between mattresses, etc. If the mattress is soft, and they roll over accidentally then they can suffocate. It is dangerous for babies to share bed with adults. If the parents are in deep sleep and they roll over the baby or place their hands or legs over the baby, there are chances baby will suffocate. Also, don’t sleep with your baby if you are using medication or are intoxicated.

Make your baby sleep in your room

According to WebMD, “When a baby sleeps in the same room as the mom, studies show it lowers the risk of SIDS.” So place the crib near to your bed, so that the baby can sleep in the same room, and you can monitor the baby as well.

Breastfeed if possible

Breastfeeding for at least the first six months decreases the chances of SIDS. If it is possible, try to breastfeed the baby. If you won’t be able to breastfeed for 6 months, try to breastfeed as long as you can.

Give a pacifier

One of the advantages of using a pacifier is decreasing the chances of the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It is not something that is absolutely necessary to be given to a baby. It is good if your baby is interested in using a pacifier, you can give it to them while they sleep. If the baby is not interested in a pacifier, it is best to not give it to them. Always clean the pacifier and sterilize it before first use and frequently.

Immunize your baby

According to Mayo Clinic, “There’s no evidence that routine immunizations increase SIDS risk. Some evidence indicates immunizations can help prevent SIDS.”

Don’t smoke around Baby

Smoking is injurious to health, which is a known fact. Smoking around the baby is also equally dangerous. In fact, if you are a smoker, it is best to quit smoking before getting pregnant or at least after getting pregnant. Chances of SIDS are higher among babies who are exposed to smoking. So, don’t let anyone smoke near your baby. It has many side effects and SIDS is one of them.

Please be mindful while placing your baby to sleep. Take extra precautions until your baby is able to roll over independently. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/parenting/sids-prevention#3

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sudden-infant-death-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20352800

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