Safe Sleep: Scary Risks That Come Out in the Night
OK, here’s every parent’s nightmare: Four-month-old Reneja never woke up from her sleep. Her young mom found her wedged between the wall and the soft mattress of the bed they shared in their Milwaukee home. Each year, almost 4,000 parents wake up to this terrible shock. In sheer numbers, that’s equivalent to a 9/11 tragedy every year for our youngest citizens. These infants die either from accidental suffocation (rolling in their crib into a pillow or not the stomach, or suffocating in bed with their parents) or from the mysterious killer, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). In 1992, doctors discovered a key cause of SIDS: stomach sleeping. Doctors launched a national campaign to remind parents only to allow their baby to sleep…on the BACK! The Back to Sleep program led to a 50% drop in sleep deaths, but over recent years that progress has stalled. And thousands still die. So besides back sleeping, here’s a whole bunch of easy ideas to stack the deck in your baby’s favor and that reduce your baby’s risk of sleep death by over 90%!
No smoking…period. Not in your house, not outside the house.
Room-sharing…but no bed-sharing. (Bed sharing can be a danger because you may be so tired you’re literally drunk with exhaustion. More about this in an article on drunk parenting.)
Breastfeed if you can (nursing alone is can reduce SIDS by up to 50%)
Get the routine immunizations, for you and yoru baby! (Getting influenza or whooping cough creates very serious problems for babies)
Don’t let your baby sleep on soft surfaces (sofas, waterbeds, comforters, bean bags)
For some unknown reason, falling asleep with a pacifier in the mouth has been shown to reduce SIDS by up to 50%.
Baby Reneja’s tragedy — and many other infant sleep deaths — can be avoided. This year, let us summon our national will and commit ourselves to saving at least 1000 more of our babies from SIDS and suffocation, starting today!