Yesterday, I wrote about the SIDS age range and gave some tips on how to prevent incidences of SIDS in older babies. Today, I want to discuss SIDS prevention for infants ages 1-12 months. Again, there is no 100% way to prevent SIDS, but there is a lot that you can do to lower your baby's risk. Since parents have been practicing the following steps, the SIDS rate has dropped 50%.
Put your Baby on his back to sleep - A babies risk is very high if they are sleeping on their stomach or back. These positions put the babies face in the mattress making it harder to breathe. If you're worried about your baby spitting up or choking, it is very rare and can happen if the child is on their stomach as well. Usually babies will swallow or cough up liquids automatically, but if you're still concerned, talk to your doctor about elevating your infants head.
Make sure anyone who watches your baby puts your child down to slip on their back. Don't assume everyone knows that these can lead to SIDS.
Once your baby is old enough to roll over onto their stomachs to sleep, let them. It's good to let your child choose their own sleeping position.
Use a firm mattress - Always lay your baby down to sleep on a firm surface. All baby needs is a fitted sheet - don't put pillows, blankets, comforters, stuffed toys, or bumpers in you infants crib.
If you're concerned about the safety of your mattress contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission - 800-638-2772 or www.cpsc.gov.
Don't smoke around Baby - Babies born to Mothers who smoked while pregnant die from SIDS three times more often than those who's Mothers do not smoke. Secondhand smoke has also increases the chance of SIDS. Don't let anyone smoke around your Baby.
Do not let Baby sleep in your bed - I have spoken to so many parents in the past year who let their infant sleep in their bed, and they will shrug it off and say 'I know it's bad, but....'. I get it... I never thought this would happen to my family either, but it does happen and it's SO important that your infant sleeps alone in a bassinet next to your bed or in his crib alone.
Breastfeed - Breastfeeding can lower the risk of SIDS by 50%, though experts aren't sure why. Many think that breastmilk may protect Babies from infections that lead to SIDS.
Immunize your Baby - Evidence shows that babies who are immunized have a 50% less chance of dying of SIDS than Babies who are not immunized.
Consider using a pacifier to put your Baby to sleep - Again, researchers aren't sure why pacifiers reduce the risk of SIDS but it does. Don't force your Baby to take the pacifier if he doesn't want it and don't put it back in his mouth once he/she has fallen asleep.
Don't overheat your Baby - Dress your Baby in light, comfortable clothes and try to keep the temperature between 60-70 degrees. If you're worried that your Baby might be cold, use a Halo Sleepsack Swaddle sleeper sack.
Beware of items that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS - Most of these items aren't proven safe or effective. SIDS monitoring devices can go off for any reason and will cause more stress and worry than not having one. (I will go over SIDS monitors in more detail in another post)
Don't give honey to a child less than 1 year old - Honey can lead to botulism. Botulism and the bacteria that causes it have been linked to SIDS.
If you ever have any questions about the safety and health of your infant, please contact your Pediatrician.