What is SIDS?
SIDS stands for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome which is seen to be the leading cause of death for babies between 1 month and 1 year old.
SIDS is the diagnosis given when a child under a year old dies suddenly without an exact cause till conducting a death scene investigation.
SIDS most commonly affects babies between the ages of 2 and 4 months; 90 percent of cases involve infants younger than 6 months. It occurs most frequently during cold-weather months.
SDIS preventionThere’s no guaranteed way to prevent SIDS, but you can do a number of things to greatly reduce the risk:
Put your baby to sleep on his back.
This is one of the most important things you can do to help protect your baby. Make sure that every caregiver including relatives and babysitters knows to place your baby on his back to sleep.
Many people don’t know that side sleeping isn’t safe either. In fact, if your baby sleeps on his side rather than on his back, his risk of SIDS is doubled. That’s because babies placed on their side can easily end up on their tummy.
Of course, by the time your baby is 5 or 6 months old, he may be able to roll over onto his tummy by himself. By this age, his risk for SIDS has started to drop, though, so just do your best to get him settled on his back, and then don’t worry if he rolls over. Just make sure there’s nothing soft in his crib that he could get his face next to that would increase the risk of SIDS or suffocation.
One problem with putting your baby on his back so much is that he may develop a flat spot on the back or side of his head. This is called positional plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome. (See our expert’s tips on how to prevent flat head syndrome.)
This flat spot usually goes away on its own once the baby begins sitting and crawling, but if not, you’ll need to seek medical attention (the earlier, the better).
Note: Don’t use towels or a sleep positioner to try to keep your baby on his back or side.
Take care of yourself and your unborn baby while you’re pregnant.
To protect your baby’s health and reduce the risk of a premature birth or low birth weight (both of which are risk factors for SIDS), get proper prenatal care and nutrition. Don’t smoke cigarettes or use illegal drugs during your pregnancy.
Don’t allow smoking around your baby.
Keep the air around your baby at home, in the car, and in all other environments free of smoke. If others insist on smoking, make sure they go outside the house to do it.
Choose bedding carefully.
Put your baby to sleep on a firm, flat mattress with no pillow and nothing but a fitted sheet under him. Don’t put stuffed toys or anything else in your baby’s crib.
SIDS prevention groups recommend that you not use any blanket at all. If you think your baby is chilly, dress him in warmer clothing such as footed pajamas or in a cotton one-piece under a wearable blanket or sleep sack a sleeveless garment that’s closed along the bottom like a bag.
If you can’t resist covering your baby with a blanket, the AAP suggests that you place your baby’s feet at the end of the crib and use a thin blanket that’s large enough to tuck securely under three sides of the mattress. The blanket should come only as high as your baby’s armpits.
Crib bumpers aren’t necessary and SIDS prevention groups urge parents not to use them. The distance between slats on cribs is regulated, so there’s no danger of your baby’s head slipping through them. Also, without bumpers, air circulates more freely around your baby and you can see him better.
Avoid overheating your baby.
To keep your baby from getting too warm while he sleeps, don’t overdress him. The room he sleeps in shouldn’t be too toasty, either. The temperature should be comfortable for a lightly clothed adult.
Signs that your baby may be overheated include sweating, damp hair, heat rash, rapid breathing, fever, and fussing or crying.
Improve the ventilation in your baby’s room.
Keeping the air in your baby’s room fresh can help keep him from rebreathing the air he exhales.
Limit exposure to infection.
SIDS sometimes occurs together with respiratory or gastrointestinal infections. Feel free to ask people to wash their hands before holding your baby. And avoid exposing your baby to sick people whenever possible.