A note to parents and grandparents about SIDS. This referenced material is aimed at grandparents because it may have been awhile since they’ve watched babies. However, parents should take the opportunity to refresh their memories on this most important topic.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) doesn’t get the notoriety that it once did in the early 1990s. There were at that time a large number of unexplained deaths of babies.
What is sudden infant death syndrome?
SIDS is the unexplained death of a baby under the age of one.
SIDS is sometimes called “crib death” but that is a misnomer because the crib doesn’t cause the death.
In studying the issue of SIDS we start by using basic building blocks.
Babies sleep safer on their backs. Babies can suffocate on their stomachs more easily.
Sleep surface is very important. It is better to have a firm mattress rather than a very soft mattress.
It is very important to communicate with respect as to how the baby has been sleeping.
When a baby spends a lot of time on its back then when the baby is awake some time should be spent on its stomach so it can develop muscles in the arms, shoulders and neck.
There are several key issues to pay attention to when trying to protect your baby.
As previously mentioned place the baby on its back to sleep. Additionally put the baby on a firm crib mattress approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. It should be covered by a tight fitted sheet.
Don’t smoke or allow smoking around the baby.
By the way, as an aside, when my wife and I had our first son, he got a lot of ear infections. I was advised by his doctor that since I smoked at the time that smoke in fact could cause ear infections.
Keep the baby near you, not in your bed, but near you.
When the baby goes to sleep, use a clean, dry pacifier if they want one. Never force the baby to take one.
Keep soft toys out of the crib.
The baby should not be “overheated.” This is a key point. For some reason people think that babies need to be constantly bundled up. They are comfortable in rooms where the temperature is good for adults. Further, they should be dressed in light clothes.
Two issues that get a lot of peoples’ attention are baby monitors and specialized equipment that guarantees safety.
There is nothing that can guarantee safety and a monitor for a baby is no guarantee because it can miss too much.
Infant deaths have dropped by 50% since 1994. It tells us that simply being more aware and putting that baby on its back is the major key.
“Safe Sleep for My Grandbaby,” Brochure, November 2005, National Institute of Good Health and Human Development
Back to Sleep Campaign, 1-800-505-2742