The death of a child at any age causes a grief few can understand, but when an infant dies from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), feelings of heartbreak can be overwhelming.
Bay Streets Pediatrics is here to detail the risk factors of SIDS and how to keep your infant as safe as possible.
What is SIDS?
SIDS is an unexplained infant death of an otherwise healthy baby. Researchers think SIDS may be caused by result of problems in the part of an infant’s brain controlling breathing and arousal from sleep.
When is Baby most at risk?
SIDS typically occurs when the baby is sleeping in their crib, so it is sometimes called “crib death.” SIDS may occur any time before the baby’s first birthday, but usually happens between the ages of 2 and 4 months.
While the exact cause of SIDS has not been identified, research has identified the most common risk factors. Babies who are greater risk of developing SIDS are:
- Non-white babies
- Infants born prematurely
- Babies who have siblings or cousins who also have died from SIDS
- Babies who live in a home where smoking is present
The mother’s health status during pregnancy also plays a factor in determining an infant’s risk of SIDS. If during pregnancy, the mother is under the age of 20, smokes, drinks alcohol or uses other drugs, or has inadequate prenatal care, the risk of SIDS is higher.
How can I prevent SIDS?
Because SIDS happens when the baby is sleeping, the important safety measure is to provide Baby with the safest sleep situation possible. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the following guidelines should be followed each and every time anyone puts Baby to sleep – either for the night or just for a short nap:
- Place babies on their backs instead of on their stomachs
- Baby should sleep in a close-fitting sleeper, on a firm mattress with no blankets, crib bumpers, stuffed animals, positioners or pillows
- Avoid letting your Baby sleep in the same bed as you or anyone else
- Offer a pacifier at nap time and bed time
- Keep babies warm at night, but make sure they do not overheat
- Breastfeed babies, if possible, to reduce risk
Yes! “Back to Sleep” Works
Before 1992, more than 5,000 babies died every year as a result of SIDS. In that year, the “Back to Sleep” campaign was introduced. Meant to reduce the incidence of SIDS, “Back to Sleep” instructed parents and caregivers to place babies on their backs every time they were put in the crib to sleep. Because of these instructions, now only about 2,300 infants die each year from SIDS. “Back to Sleep” has saved thousands of infant lives.
The anguish of SIDS is devastating. While it’s impossible to create a perfect, danger-free environment for your children, you can lower the risk of SIDS by strictly implementing safe sleep instructions for everyone who cares for your child.
Have questions about how to implement “Back to Sleep” or concerned about any health issue in your child? Call Bay Street Pediatrics at 203-227-3674 or click here to make an appointment.