SIDS is the unexplained death of a baby during sleep. Almost all cases occur before 6 months of age, with the majority happening between 2 and 4 months. Statistics show that the occurrence of SIDS in the United States is relatively low:1 in 1,600 kids are affected.
Though there is no scientific explanation for what causes SIDS, experts are learning what physical and evironmental factors put your baby at risk. Follow these guidelines to keep your baby as safe as possible:
1. Put your baby to sleep on her back, not on her stomach. This recommendation, unveiled a decade ago, has helped reduce SIDS rates in the US dramatically.
2. Don’t smoke or allow others to smoke around your baby. Exposing your baby to cigarette smoke increases his chances of SIDS.
3. Breastfeed your baby, if you can, to boost her immunity to upper respiratory infections.
4. Consider giving your baby a pacifier at bedtime during the high-rish period of 2 to 6 months of age. The latest research indicates that pacifier use when sleeping somehow protects a baby from SIDS.
5. Don’t overheat your baby’s room; the ideal temperature is between 68 and 72 degrees.
6. Make sure your baby’s crib meets safety standards, and don’t put soft bedding, comfortors, pillows, sheepskins, or stuffed animals in it. Use a one-piece sleeper, rather than a blanket, to keep your baby warm.
7. Never allow your baby to sleep on a water bed.
8. If you share a family bed, consider using a co-sleeper instead.
9. Never use alcohol or drugs if you sleep with your baby. They can prevent you from waking easily.
10. Make sure that your baby’s other caregivers are aware of and follow these safety rules.
Try to sleep when your baby sleeps and leave the cleaning for later!