Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden death of a sleeping baby younger than 1 year old. The death cannot be explained even after a review of the baby's health history, surroundings, and autopsy results. SIDS is more common among boys and peaks between 2 and 4 months of age. It is also more common during late fall and winter. A baby born at a low birth weight or who recently had a fever or infection is also at higher risk.
Follow up with your child's pediatrician as directed:
Go to regular appointments with your child's pediatrician. This will help him learn if your baby has health problems that need treatment. Your child may receive vaccinations during these visits. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
How to put your baby to sleep:
It is very important to put your baby to sleep in safe surroundings. This can greatly reduce his risk for SIDS. Tell grandparents, babysitters, and anyone else who cares for your baby the following rules:
- Put your baby on his back to sleep: Do this every time he sleeps (naps and at night). Do this even if he sleeps more soundly on his stomach or on his side. Your baby is less likely to choke on spit-up or vomit if he sleeps on his back.
- Put your baby on a firm flat surface to sleep: Your baby should sleep in a crib, bassinet, or cradle that meets the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Do not let him sleep on pillows, waterbeds, soft mattresses, quilts, beanbags, or other soft surfaces. Move him to his bed if he falls asleep in a car seat, stroller, or swing. He may change positions in a sitting device and not be able to breathe well.
- Put your baby in his own bed: A crib or bassinet in your room, near your bed, is the safest place for your baby to sleep. Never let him sleep in bed with you. Never let him sleep on a couch or recliner.
- Do not leave soft objects or loose bedding in his crib: His bed should contain only a mattress covered with a fitted bottom sheet. Use a sheet that is made for the mattress. Do not put pillows, bumpers, comforters, or stuffed animals in his bed. Dress your baby in a sleep sack or other sleep clothing before you put him down to sleep. Avoid loose blankets. If you must use a blanket, tuck it around the mattress.
- Do not let your baby get too hot: Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult. Never dress him in more than 1 layer more than you would wear. Do not cover his face or head while he sleeps. Your baby is too hot if he is sweating or his chest feels hot.
- Do not raise the head of his bed: Your baby could slide or roll into a position that makes it hard for him to breathe.
Decrease the risk of SIDS:
- Breastfeed your baby: Always put your baby back in his own bed after you breastfeed him at night.
- Give him a pacifier when you put him down to sleep: Do not put it back in his mouth if it falls out after he is asleep. If he rejects it, do not force him to take it. If your baby breastfeeds, wait until he is breastfeeding well or is 1 month old before you offer a pacifier.
- Do not smoke or allow others to smoke around your baby: Also do not let anyone smoke in your home or car. The smoke gets into your furniture and clothing, and this means your baby is breathing smoke. This increases his risk for SIDS.
- Do not buy products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS: Examples are sleep wedges and sleep positioners. There is no evidence that these products are safe.
If your baby's head is flat from sleeping on his back:
- Alternate the direction his face is turned when you lay him in his bed: His flat spot will most likely get better or go away when he begins to sit up and crawl.
- Give him tummy time: Place your baby on his tummy daily when he is awake and you are able to watch him closely. This helps prevent a flat spot and also strengthens his head, neck, and arm muscles. Do not leave the room when he is on his tummy.
For support and more information:
- National Sudden and Unexpected Infant/Child Death and Pregnancy Loss Resource Center
2115 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Ste 601
Washington , DC 20007
Phone: 1- 202 - 687-7466
Web Address: www.sidscenter.org
- First Candle
1314 Bedford Avenue, Suite 210
Baltimore , MD 21208
Phone: 1- 800 - 221-7437
Web Address: http://www.firstcandle.org
- Cribs for Kids
810 River Avenue, Suite 250, Riverfront Place
Pittsburgh , PA 15212
Phone: 1- 888 - 721-2742
Web Address: http://cribsforkids.org
Contact your child's pediatrician if:
- You have questions or concerns about SIDS prevention.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.