15 Things All Parents Can Do to Stop SIDS
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden, unexpected death of an infant one month to one year of age. Providing a safe sleep environment is the single most important step you can take to reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS. SIDS is not a topic anyone wants to think about—but thankfully, there are many ways to reduce your baby’s risk. Here are 15 ways:
1. Only let your baby sleep on the back.
2. Breast-feed if you can: This cuts SIDS by fifty percent.
3. Have a smoke-free house: Don’t smoke or allow others to do so. Avoid woodstoves, incense, scented candles, and fireplaces, unless the room is well vented.
4. Avoid overheating or overcooling: Keep the room 68°F–72°F (20–22.2°C), and avoid overdressing. Your baby’s ears should feel slightly warm, not cold or hot.
5. Use snug swaddling for all naps/nights.
6. Offer a pacifier at bedtime (if you’re breastfeeding, wait a couple of weeks until the nursing is well established before giving a paci).
7. Don’t sleep with your baby in your bed for at least the first nine months.
8. Never let him sleep on a couch, recliner, sofa, armchair, beanbag chair or waterbed.
9. Remove pillows, toys, bumpers, and thick or loose bedding that could cause smothering, like duvets, pillows, bumpers, stuffed animals, positioners, lambskins.
10. No thick blankets under the baby, either!
11. Practice tummy time to help your baby develop strong muscles to move his face away from choking risks.
12. Don’t let your baby sleep sitting up in a car seat, infant carrier or upright swing (especially if she’s premature or developmentally delayed).
13. Sleep in the same room as your baby for the first six months, with the baby in a bassinet or SNOO smart sleeper right near you.
14. Make sure your baby has received all the immunizations.
15. Avoid cribs with missing slats, net siding or a space between the mattress and the side wall where your baby’s head might get trapped.
Unfortunately, there’s no absolute way to prevent SIDS. But, most babies who die have at least one of these risk factors, so following all these tips can definitely make your baby safer! For a complete list of safety tips for parents and caregivers visit www.firstcandle.org.