While you can’t completely prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), there are things that you can do to minimize the risk of SIDS. As a parent, there is nothing more frightening or heartbreaking than losing a baby to this unexplained condition. SIDS is marked as the cause of death when a baby dies in the first year of life for no apparent cause.
The causes still aren’t fully known; however, it is believed that the baby’s recovery mechanisms if deprived of oxygen aren’t fully developed. This prevents the baby from being able to arouse from sleeping if his breathing becomes obstructed. But researchers have discovered some factors that may put your baby at risk for SIDS.
There’s no way to predict whether a baby is at risk for SIDS, although the occurrence of SIDS deaths has decreased in the last 10 years. Creating a safe sleep environment for the baby is one way to help prevent SIDS. But these physical conditions can increase the chances of your baby passing away.
- Brain Defects
- Low Birth Weight
- Respiratory Infection
- Had an older sibling pass away from SIDS
- If the baby has had any life-threatening episodes, such as turning blue, or an episode requiring mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Back to Sleep
For the first year of life, babies should be put to sleep on their backs. If put to sleep on their side, they should be positioned with one arm forward to keep them from rolling over on their stomach. You can use a soft foam wedge to help keep your baby in the proper position.
Avoid Potential Obstructions
Avoid loose, fluffy bedding, and make sure your baby’s face isn’t obstructed. It is best to put your baby in a sleep sack or swaddle blanket so that you don’t have any blankets in the crib that could potentially suffocate your baby. Also, don’t place any pillows, or stuffed animals, or use a crib bumper pad unless it is made of mesh and the baby can breathe through it.
Don’t Overheat Your Baby
Be careful not to overheat your baby by over-wrapping him or dressing him in too many layers. Even during the winter months, a sleep sack or swaddle blanket should be sufficient enough to keep your baby warm. However, if you find your baby waking up cold, you can also put your baby in lightweight jammies or a onesie.
Don’t Expose Baby to Smoke
Don’t smoke and don’t allow anyone else to smoke around the baby.
Use a Firm Crib Mattress
Make sure he has a firm mattress in a safety-approved crib. I suggest purchasing a new crib mattress so that you know that it is up to the current code and regulations, to prevent your baby from SIDS. A soft mattress can prevent your baby from moving if they end up face down or cause them to roll over.
Use a SIDs Monitoring System
There are monitoring systems that can alert you if the baby stops breathing. I suggest the Owlet Sock (aff link) or the MIKU Smart Baby Monitor (aff link). The Owlet sock is great for premies but once your baby is a bit bigger, I’ve heard moms say they have trouble keeping the sock on. The MIKU smart baby monitor would be a better long-term choice as it monitors breathing and movement. Plus, there is a camera so that you can see your baby as they are sleeping in the crib.
There is no way to prevent SIDS but if you follow these tips, you can lower your baby’s chance of suddenly passing away for no reason.