How to Reduce the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), is commonly called “Crib Death.” Sleeping in a crib actually has nothing to do with the cause of this syndrome. It gained that nickname because babies who succumb to SIDS are often found dead while in their cribs.

SIDS can be defined as the sudden, unexplainable death of an infant that has not yet reached one year old. The majority of the babies who die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome are between two and four months old.

Since the syndrome causes no symptoms that parents or doctors can be on the look out for, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, as its name implies, can happen at anytime. The only defense that parents and caretakers of infants have, is to know how to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Even though medical researchers have yet to determine the causes of SIDS, it has been determined that placing a baby on their stomach to sleep reduces the risk. You should place your baby on his or her back at naptimes, and at bedtime as well.

It’s also been determined that your baby’s bedding should be soft, but not too soft. Lying on very soft bedding or being covered with equally soft blankets has also been shown to increase the risk of SIDS. Therefore, you should provide a firm mattress for your baby to sleep on. The mattress should be covered with a sheet that properly fits the bed, and is not too large. Keep pillows, quilts, toys and stuffed animals out of your baby’s crib when he or she is sleeping. And, avoid using thick, fluffy crib bumpers at all times.

Never place your baby in your adult bed to sleep. A baby shouldn’t be put down on a couch or a chair to sleep either.

To help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, you shouldn’t overdress your baby either. Their environment should be a comfortable temperature at all times so you don’t have to bundle them up excessively. A baby who becomes overheated is at a greater risk of SIDS.

Be choosy about who your baby comes in contact with, especially sick children who have contagious colds and other respiratory ailments. Anyone who is going to hold or play with your baby should wash their hands with plenty of soap and water first. Don’t let your baby play with contaminated car keys and other germy objects. Every item your baby plays with, or comes in contact with, should be completely clean and germ-free.

If you or your spouse smoke, or you share a house with another smoker, they should go outside to do that. Turn your home into a “Smoke-Free Environment” for the health of your baby.

And finally, if you’re considering giving birth to a baby, you can help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome by not becoming a teenaged mother. Babies who are born to teenaged mothers are at the highest risk of SIDS.

Babies who are born to mothers who used tobacco products or used illegal drugs while they were pregnant are also at a greater risk.

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