Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also known as the term SIDS, is an unexpected death in infants under the age of 1 year old.
Risk factors for SIDS:
- Infants sleeping on their stomach
- Having blankets or toys in the crib
- Being overheated
- Exposure to smoke or alcohol while in and out of the womb
- Co-sleeping with infant
- Low birthweight
- Sleeping on a soft surface
- Always place the baby on their back during nap and bedtime
- Use a firm mattress with a tight fitted sheet
- Keep the crib clear of any items
- Breastfeeding and using a pacifier helps prevent SIDS
- The baby should sleep in their own bed in parents room
- Do not smoke or drink around baby or when breastfeeding
The American SIDS Institute, a non-profit organization, is recommended as a primary resource for SIDS by the Center of disease control and prevention (CDC) (“Sudden Unexpected Infant…,” 2016). They provide research and education on SIDS prevention (“Sudden Unexpected Infant…,” 2016). Unhealthy smoking habits during pregnancy or around infants will dramatically increase the risk of SIDS. When the baby is in a smoking environment, the smoke they breathe causes nicotine and other chemicals from the smoke to absorb in the lung tissue, increasing the risk of SIDS, and “nicotine alters central nervous system neurotransmission and cardiovascular regulation” (McMartin, 2002). This is very strong evidence that a mother should not smoke during or after pregnancy because it will affect the baby’s health and increase the possibility of SIDS. Second-hand smoke is also a risk factor for SIDS causing the baby to develop asthma or have other breathing issues. Next, the infant may sleep in the same room next to their parent’s bed, but in their own crib (“What does a…,” 2014). This way, parents can attend to the baby’s needs when the baby needs to be fed or changed, while still maintaining a safe sleep environment. Sleeping with the baby may seem like a safe and easy way for new moms trying to bond or feed their baby, but the baby can get trapped and suffocate if the mom rolls over. Finally, make sure the baby has plenty of tummy time. Tummy time allows the baby to exercise and strengthen the muscles in their neck, arms, and legs. However, it is extremely important to always watch the baby during this time to prevent suffocation or a SIDS event.
You can find more information at the following sites:
McMartin, K. I., Platt, M. S., Hackman, R., Klein, J., Smialek†, J. E., Vigorito, R., & Koren, G. (2002). Lung tissue concentrations of nicotine in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The Journal of Pediatrics, 140(2), 205-209. Retrieved February 28, 2016.
Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. (2016, January 26). Retrieved February 17, 2018, from http://www.cdc.gov/sids/index.htm
What does a safe sleep environment look like? (2014, August, 1). Retrieved February 17, 2018, from https://www.nichd.nih.gov/sts/about/environment/Pages/look.aspx
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