Keeping Kids Healthy Advice
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Most people have heard of SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death syndrome, a leading and unexplained cause of death for infants less than 1 year-old. Most SIDS deaths occur between 2 and 4 months of age, and the risk increases during cold weather.
Potential risk factors of SIDS include:
Tobacco, alcohol, or drug use during pregnancy
Poor prenatal care
Low birth-weight or premature birth
Exposure to smoke following birth
Mothers under 20 years
Overheating from excessive sleepwear and/or bedding
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that following to reduce the risk of SIDS:
Place infants on their back every time he or she sleeps.
Use a firm sleep surface, such as a firm crib mattress, covered by a sheet. Blankets, pillows, and quilts should not be placed under an infant.
Infants should sleep separately from parents, but nearby, in cribs, bassinets, or cradles that conform to the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Consider giving your infant a pacifier when he or she sleeps. Pacifier use during sleep may reduce the risk of SIDS. For the infant’s first year, the pacifier should be used when lying the infant down for sleep and not be reinserted once the baby falls asleep. If your baby refuses the pacifier, he or she should not be forced to take it. Pacifiers should be cleaned often and replaced regularly. Never coat the pacifier with any sweet solution before giving it to your infant. Breast-fed infants should not be introduced to a pacifier until one month of age.
Dress your baby in snug, light-weight clothing and keep the bedroom a temperature that is comfortable for a lightly-clothed adult.
Avoid any devices that claim to reduce SIDS risk because none have been tested sufficiently.
Baby monitors should not be used as a strategy to reduce SIDS risk, unless your infant has heart and/or breathing problems.
When awake, place your child on his or her stomach when not asleep. This reduces the risk of a condition known as plagiocephaly, in which the back of the head becomes flatten from the pressure. If your child is not old enough to lift his or her head, put place your hand on his or her bottom to shift his or her weight to the upper body. If your infant is still unable to lift his or her head, place a rolled towel under his or her chest, place your child over your leg while sitting, or lay the baby on your chest to encourage head lifting.
Take your infant to his or her regular well-baby check-ups.
Breastfeed, if possible. There is some evidence that breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS.