Reducing Your Baby’s Chances of SIDS Risk

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, commonly known as SIDS, is every parent’s worse nightmare. This is the medical term given to children under one year who die suddenly and unexpectedly where an autopsy does not reveal any evidential cause of death. Many factors can pose SIDS risks to young infants; although many of these can be avoided. There are several things parents can do to help reduce or even prevent their baby’s chances which I will discuss.
baby sids

What Causes SIDS?

Just in the U.S. alone, SIDS is responsible for about 2,500 deaths every year and it’s the third leading cause of infant mortality overall. Despite many research efforts to determine the exact causes it still remains a mystery and can occur without warning. It most commonly occurs when the infant is sleeping thus coining the term it’s also referred to as, crib death. According the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) these are the most common incidences resulting in SIDS.

  • Accidental suffocation
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Undiagnosed infections
  • Poisoning or overdose
  • Hyper-/hypothermia

How To Reduce Your Baby’s SIDS Risk

The number of SIDS-related deaths have declined by 50% since 1990 thanks to the rising awareness and educating parents on the safety measures to take to reduce their baby’s chances. Here are some steps that you can take to ensure your baby’s safety.

DSCN26421.) Back to Sleep – The AAP recommends putting your baby to sleep on their back every time you put them to sleep. They should be put to sleep on a firm surface such as a crib, bassinet, or playpen that meets safety standards. Reserve time during the day when your baby is awake and alert for tummy time to help strengthen your baby’s back and neck muscles.

2.) Cosleep – this does NOT mean letting your baby sleep in bed with you, which also poses a SIDS risk. Keeping your baby in the same room with you (but not the same bed) for at least the first 6 months has been shown to reduce the chances of sudden infant death syndrome as parents can quickly tend to baby’s needs.

crib3.) Do NOT place toys or loose sheets in the crib – there should be nothing in your baby’s crib other than a fitted sheet that is tightly snug and secure. In cooler seasons dress your baby accordingly and/or swaddle. Do not use sleep aids that claim to prevent SIDS such as wedges or sleep positioners as these along with loose bedding, pillows, and stuffed animals could all pose a risk of suffocation. Traditional bumpers are also not advised, however there are safer options that are now available. For babies older than 12 months it should be fine to allow blankets and pillows.

4.) Have your child immunized – although there is much debate over vaccinations, research has shown that infants who receive immunizations have reduced occurrences of SIDS. Vaccines help protect infants against diseases that could be potentially fatal.

sleep sack5.) Keep your baby at a comfortable temperature – be sure you have a comfortable room temperature for your baby while they are sleeping so they do not become too cold and so that it is not too stuffy. Also avoid overdressing your baby to sleep. Sleep sacks and swaddlers work well to keep babies comfortable without overheating.

6.) Breastfeeding – studies have proven that infants who are breastfed more often for longer durations have a reduced chance of SIDS.

7.) Keep your baby smoke-free – Keep your baby’s environment smoke-free by not allowing others to smoke in your home or around your baby. It is highly advised not only for your health but your baby’s as well to quit if you are a smoker.

8.) Give your baby a pacifier to sleep – putting baby to sleep at bedtime and nap time with a pacifier has shown to help reduce Philips Avent Soothie Pacifieryour baby’s risk. If you currently breastfeed I suggest waiting until nursing is well established usually after the first month. We used Soothie’s with both our kids (for as long as they took them) which didn’t interfere with nursing.

An important measure to avoid the risk of unexpected infant death is to baby-proof your home! This will help keep your little one safe from other potential dangers around the house. Also I advise staying current on product recalls for baby gear. Our crib we had for our first child was recalled and we contacted the manufacturer upon the issue. For this reason I always recommend keeping the papers that comes with new baby items.  They were supposed to just send us a repair kit to affix the drop-side, which was the reason for the recall. Instead they just sent us a brand new crib at no cost! If you do have a baby item that becomes recalled due to safety concerns, be sure to contact the manufacturer about a replacement.


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