SIDS Awareness Month - tips for a healthy, safe infant | Families
October is well-known as Breast Cancer Awareness month, but it is also SIDS Awareness month in the United States.
SIDS, which is short for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is the sudden, unexplained death of a baby under one year of age, even after examination of the child and the environment the child was in.
In a typical SIDS scenario, a parent will check on his or her sleeping baby, only to find the child has passed away. This is every parent's worst nightmare, but since knowledge is power, read over this list of things to do to attempt to avoid SIDS striking your family. Also, talk to your pediatrician frequently with any questions you may have about caring for your baby.
First, if you are a parent-to-be, the American SIDS Institute says there are four important things you should do:
1. Get medical care early in your pregnancy, followed by regular medical checkups at your doctor's office or health clinic, and follow your doctor's nutritional advice. This step alone can reduce the risk of premature birth, which doctors say is a major risk factor for SIDS in your child.
2. Do not smoke, or use cocaine or heroin. These three substances are linked to an infant's risk for sudden infant death.
3. Don't get pregnant during the teenage years. The SIDS rate is highest among babies of teenage mothers, and the more babies a teen mom has, the greater the child's risk of sudden death.
4. Wait at least a year between the birth of one child and the next pregnancy. The shorter the interval between pregnancies, the higher the risk is for SIDS.
Parents, here is the list from SIDS.org of things you can do to try to avoid SIDS striking your baby:
1. Place infants to sleep on their backs, even though they may sleep more soundly on their stomachs. Infants who sleep on their stomachs and sides have a much higher rate of SIDS than infants who sleep on their backs.
2. Place infants to sleep in a baby bed with a firm mattress. There should be nothing in the bed but the baby - no covers, no pillows, no bumper pads, no positioning devices and no toys. Soft mattresses and heavy covering are associated with the risk for SIDS.
3. Keep your baby’s crib in the parents’ room until the infant is at least 6 months of age. Studies clearly show that infants are safest when their beds are close to their mothers.
4. Do not place your baby to sleep in an adult bed. Typical adult beds are not safe for babies. Do not fall asleep with your baby on a couch or in a chair.
5. Do not over-clothe the infant while she sleeps. Just use enough clothes to keep the baby warm without having to use cover. Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for you. Overheating an infant may increase the risk for SIDS.
6. Avoid exposing the infant to tobacco smoke. Don't have your infant in the same house or car with someone who is smoking. The greater the exposure to tobacco smoke, the greater the risk of SIDS.
7. Breast-feed babies whenever possible. Breast milk decreases the occurrence of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. Studies show that breast-fed babies have a lower SIDS rate than formula-fed babies do.
8. Avoid exposing the infant to people with respiratory infections. Avoid crowds. Carefully clean anything that comes in contact with the baby. Have people wash their hands before holding or playing with your baby. SIDS often occurs in association with relatively minor respiratory (mild cold) and gastrointestinal infections (vomiting and diarrhea).
9. Offer your baby a pacifier. Some studies have shown a lower rate of SIDS among babies who use pacifiers.
10. If your baby has periods of not breathing, going limp or turning blue, tell your pediatrician at once.
11. If your baby stops breathing or gags excessively after spitting up, discuss this with your pediatrician immediately.
12. Thoroughly discuss each of the above points with all caregivers. If you take your baby to daycare or leave him with a sitter, provide a copy of this list to them. Make sure they follow all recommendations.
Please share this article with families and parents-to-be in hopes that information will save a life!
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