First comes love, then comes marriage — if the old adage holds true for you and your betrothed, expanding your family may be next on the agenda. It’s a time filled with excitement and joy, but also a good bit of nerves. Eager new parents want to make sure they’re doing things right, so they can bring baby home knowing they’ve created a safe environment.
Accomplishing this means learning about important risk factors so that they may be avoided; a timely topic, as October is SIDS Awareness Month. SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome, refers to the tragic and unexplained death of an infant. 90% of SIDS cases occur in children less than six months old.
Though SIDS is understandably frightening to think about, a bit of knowledge and a few simple precautions can go a long way in reducing risk. A revised set of infant sleep standards presented by the American Academy of Pediatrics called the “Back to Sleep” campaign cut the number of U.S. SIDS deaths in half between 1993 and 2010.
Safe Sleep for SIDS Prevention
These guidelines, established by the AAP, should be followed when creating a sleep space for your infant.
- The ABC rule — baby should always be on their back, and should be placed in their crib, moses basket, or bassinet
- Cribs, bassinets and baskets should have nothing more than baby and their fitted sheet, no pillows or stuffed animals
- Use blanket garments that zip up and control room temperature to keep baby warm rather than using blankets
- Never sleep with baby in your arms while resting on soft furniture, and don’t place them on an armchair or couch to sleep; both situations increase the chance of suffocation
- If you choose to share the bed, do so very carefully, by removing blankets, pillows, and sheets that could make baby too hot or block airways; never allow baby into bed with a smoker, someone who has consumed alcohol or drugs, or a non-parent, and never co-sleep in a waterbed
These simple rules of thumb can help to safeguard your beloved baby from this scary, though rare, condition. To learn more about SIDS prevention, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics online.