What every parent should know about sudden infant death syndrome

MANILA, Philippines - If you knew that SIDS, suffocation and sleep-related accidents are the No. 1 causes of infant deaths, how would you put your baby to sleep?

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the unexpected death of an infant less than a year old.  SIDS is the leading cause of death for otherwise healthy babies, and comes without warning.  It is closely related to other accidents during sleep, like suffocation or strangulation due to loose bedding, and the like.

While the actual causes of SIDS are still unknown, researchers have found a high correlation between an infant’s sleeping environment and the risks of SIDS.  Here are eight things parents should remember to keep their baby safe while sleeping:

1. Back is best. Always place your baby to sleep on his back, regardless if it’s naptime or bedtime.

2. Create a safe sleeping area.  Use a crib that meets current safety standards.  The crib should have a firm mattress and a tight-fitting sheet, with nothing inside except your baby.  

3. Remove all loose bedding. Remove all loose blankets, comforters, soft toys, and crib bumpers.  These items can block the flow of fresh air to your baby and cause carbon dioxide re-breathing, which is a leading risk factor for SIDS.

4. Use a safety-certified wearable blanket or SleepSack. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the use of wearable blankets because they eliminate the risk of babies accidentally suffocating or strangulating with loose blankets.  Since wearable blankets are safety products, it is important that you choose a brand that has safety certifications and is trusted by the medical community.

5. Happy babies sleep alone. Co-sleep in the same room, not on the same bed. Experts do not recommend sharing the same sleep surface with your baby in order to avoid accidental death from overlaying, suffocation from adult beddings, and other accidents. 

6. Breastfeed, when possible. Apart from its other known benefits, breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS by up to 50%.

7. Do not let your baby overheat. Make sure to use clothing made with breathable fabric to prevent overheating.  In warm climates, wearing a SleepSack made of 100% cotton over light clothing is often enough to keep babies cozy warm and sleeping soundly through the night.   

8. Do not smoke around your baby. Don’t smoke while pregnant, and never allow anyone to smoke near your baby.

source: Philippine Star