October is Safe Sleep and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) Awareness Month. It's so important to have accurate, science-based information about SIDS, both for ourselves and to help stop the spread of misinformation in our conversations with other parents. In this post, we'll cover the basics and talk about important precautions to take to prevent SIDS.
According to the CDC, there has been a dramatic decline in SIDS cases since the 1990s, when safe sleep recommendations and teachings were implemented. More research is continually being done by the American Academy of Pediatrics, so I find it important to talk about this subject often and keep up to date on the latest information. Let's start with the basics.
What Causes SIDS?
SIDS is classified as a natural death. From the research that has been done, there is two main theories as to what causes it:
- When baby is asleep on their stomach, they are receiving less oxygen and may be re-breathing exhaled carbon dioxide over and over.
- There are many researchers who believe that the portion of the brain that is in charge of arousal during sleep may have a defect in the functionality.
What is SUID?
SUID stands for Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths. SIDS is considered an SUID, along with unknown cause, and accidental suffocation or strangulation in bed. Although there are many cases of SIDS where good sleep practices were being followed, there are many that weren't, so understanding and implementing these safe practices is the best place to start.
Precautions to Take
Here are several ways to make sure that you are doing everything you can to help reduce the chance of SIDS:
- Baby should be put to bed on their back.
- Baby should be sleep on a firm mattress.
- Keep baby's face and head uncovered.
- Only swaddle baby until they can roll and then STOP swaddling them.
- Baby should not have anything extra in their crib. A firm mattress and fitted sheet--THAT'S IT.
- Baby should sleep on a flat surface and should not be propped up or sleep in an infant positioner.
- According to the AAP, co-sleeping should be avoided, but room sharing is fine.
- Baby should not sleep in a room with anyone who smokes, even if they smoke outside.
- Breastfeed if possible.
Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime, but don't use pacifiers that attach to infant clothing or a stuffed toy.
Monitors like those from Owlet can bring some peace of mind, but are not an excuse to stop using safe sleep practices.
The safety of your baby is something we all take very seriously, and although talking about SIDS isn't easy, it's very necessary. Be sure to stay on track with your baby's well child checkups and talk to your pediatrician when you have questions or concerns.
More information of safe sleep practices and SIDS can be found here.