Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness
Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle
Are you expecting, or do you have a small infant at home?
Chances are, you have heard of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID), which can happen within the first weeks of a baby’s life. It is a scary thought, but please take note: 80-90% of SUID can be avoided through safe sleeping habits.
What are safe sleeping habits for infants?
- There is a campaign called “Back To Sleep” by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. This literally means to put the baby on his back every time he is laid down to go to sleep. Infants’ necks are not strong enough in the early stages of infancy to lift the head out of a dangerous situation, so sleeping on the back keeps the nose and mouth out of the bedding.
- No more baby crib bumpers! For years, child care service professionals have been begging the public to not put padded bumpers on the inside of the baby’s crib. They are now illegal in Illinois and Maryland. If you get a bumper in your gift packages, save them for some other use; not in your baby’s crib.
- No fluffy baby bedding. Instead of thick blankets, put the baby in a night garment that will keep her warm. Some pediatricians use no blankets at all on babies. Some recommend only receiving blankets, but nothing heavy, quilted, or padded.
- No co-sleeping. According to First Candle, sleeping in the same room as your infant is a good thing; you will be aware of any dangerous signs of choking or difficulty breathing. Co-sleeping in the same bed as a parent, however, is not recommended. There is an increased risk of the baby being rolled onto, or of the bedding suffocating the child.
Other risk factors for sudden infant death:
According to the Mayo Clinic, though safe sleeping is 80-90% effective in SIDS and SUID, other problems have been known to take babies’ lives suddenly.
- Low birth weight. A baby that is too small may have difficulty breathing at first, or may have heart problems.
- Brain Abnormalities. A baby’s brain abnormality may not even be known until after a death or emergency.
- Respiratory problems. A very small infant with a breathing problem, such as a respiratory infection or a cold, may not be able to breathe well, and breathing could become impossible in extreme circumstances.
What should I do to protect my baby from sudden infant death?
When in doubt, call. Many hospitals offer a call center for new parents. Many health insurance plans have a nurse on-call station to call in case of questions.
CALL your nurse on-call: if your baby has a cold or respiratory problems. The nurse will give you recommendations based on risk factors and the size of the child.
CALL 9-1-1, don’t wait, if you think your baby is having problems breathing, especially if breathing is labored or the child is turning blue.