Monday, February 4, 2013

Prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Also Known as "Crib Death"

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the sudden and unexplained death of an infant, affects babies less than a year old, with ages up to four months being most at risk.

Parents can help to prevent SIDs by following safe sleep practices. The video below, recommended by maternity nurses at Sisters of Charity Hospital and Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, explains how.

Video Highlights

  • Babies should always sleep on their backs. When putting your baby to sleep, position your infant on his or her back, even for quick naps.
  • Let your baby have "tummy time" when he or she is awake. Babies need to sleep on their backs, but they need "tummy time" when they're awake to help their muscles develop and prevent the chance of flat spots developing on their heads.
  • Remove all loose objects from the crib. Baby should sleep on a mattress with a fitted sheet – that's it. Remove all toys and pillows at nap time, including bumper pads. To keep loose blankets from being over or under your baby at nap time, use blanket sleepers. Don't wrap your baby in blankets during sleep time – it can be dangerous.

    A Halo Sleep Sack, a wearable baby blanket that replaces loose blankets in the crib, is provided to all newborns at Sisters Hospital.
  • Avoid overheating the baby. Raising the thermostat to high or bundling your baby can overheat him or her and increase the risk for SIDS.
  • Be wary of safety products. Avoid safety products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS. Most haven't been safety tested.
  • Give your baby his or her own sleeping area. Babies should not sleep in a bed with someone or in a crib with other babies. Babies can sleep in the same room as someone else, beside the bed, but not in the same sleeping area.
  • If giving a pacifier at bedtime, don't force your baby to take it. The pacifier should be clean and dry. If it pops out during sleep, leave it out. If breastfeeding, wait until the baby is used to breastfeeding before introducing a pacifier.
  • Breastfeed. Breastfeeding can help to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Do you have questions about SIDS? Submit your question in the comments section and one of our nurses will respond.

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