Read about SIDS prevention tips, how to prevent
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and avoiding crib death.
SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) Prevention Tips
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS has long been a puzzle to
researchers, yet, no theories or explanations have yet been found
convincing enough. Doctors have not yet been able to determine whether
the baby suddenly had a heart problem or just simply lost the ability
to breathe. Some of the theories related to SIDS emphasize that the
baby's upper airway gets blocked making the baby suffocate or the
blood's composition of the baby was somehow wrong and there is a
buildup of fatty acids in blood and thus, the brain of the baby
stopped functioning. Others blame faulty nervous system in babies for
SIDS as it fails to warn the baby and wake it up when the oxygen
supply is low. It could be that SIDS babies don't have that mechanism.
Yet other theories blame a faulty immune system or the way a baby
sleeps such as soft bedding in which the babies accidentally bury
their face and then are unable to turn away again and get suffocated
or baby being overheated and was unable to breathe because they were
wrapped too tightly in blankets. SIDS has no warning signs or
symptoms; so, the only way to safeguard your babies against SIDS is
prevention. Here are some tips for parents of infants that will keep
their babies safe:
- Sleep position: Baby sleeping on tummies were thought to
be safer and less likely to choke but researches prove that babies
should be placed on their backs while sleeping so there are less
chances that their faces get covered with pillows and blankets. Even
side sleeping should be avoided. Preemies are kept on their tummies
or sides in the neonatal intensive care unit so they can breathe
better but once they come home, you can put them on their backs too.
- Good prenatal care: Women need and should be provided
with best possible medical care while they are pregnant so that they
and their babies keep healthy. They should be emphatically warned
about the risks of smoking, use of drugs and alcohol. Prenatal care
should also include education for the expectant mother on how to
care for her new baby.
- Proper bedding: Avoid soft and loose bedding such as
beanbags, waterbeds, soft mattresses, sofas, quilts, comforters,
sheepskins, pillow-like soft stuffed toys and fluffy pillows for the
baby as they increase the risk for SIDS. Babies should sleep on firm
mattresses and make sure that crib is free of the above-mentioned
things when the baby is sleeping and that he is not over bundled.
Also make sure that there is no smoke to suffocate the baby. You can
replace blankets with a sleeper or other sleep clothing with no
covering. If you still use the blanket, cover the baby only up to
the baby's chest and make sure that his head remains uncovered
- Room temperature: A baby's room should neither be
overheated nor too cold as infants are very sensitive to changes in
temperature. Too warm rooms can cause baby to sleep so deeply that
they may not be able to wake up in time, if they are having
difficulty in breathing.
- Diet: Breast fed babies are believed to have additional
protection against infections that can cause SIDS in infants.
- Bed sharing with parents: It is safer to make your baby
sleep in his crib or a co-sleeping attachment in your bedroom than
bed sharing with the baby until he is 6 months old. If you nurse
your baby in bed, you can cuddle together and let him fall asleep
there but put him down to sleep in his own crib before you go to
- Secondhand smoke: Do not smoke or do not allow anyone to
smoke near the baby or it may cause infections in their breathing
- Electronic monitoring: Electronic devices can help the
parents to listen to their babies while they are sleeping and raise
an alarm if the baby stops breathing. However, they are not known to
reduce the risk of SIDS but are recommended for babies who are known
to be at greater risk for SIDS such as premature infants, infants
with previous breathing problems or babies in families where there
have been cases of SIDS already.
- Daycare: Make sure that the daycare centers where you
leave your baby also follow these rules and do not the babies to
sleep on their tummies.
- Pacifiers: Pacifiers can be an added protection for
babies up to 6 months.