Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – What You Need to Know

Based on this and other information, the following recommendations have been made:

  • Place your baby on his or her back for sleeping. Not even the side position is safe.
  • Use only firm bedding surfaces, and keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib or bassinet.
  • Do not overheat the baby – do not overdress the baby or use heavy blankets. Keep the room temperature moderate.
  • Do not smoke during pregnancy or around the baby. The environment should be smoke-free.
  • The baby needs to sleep in a bassinet or crib, near your bed. Do not sleep with the baby in bed or on a couch.
  • Once breastfeeding has been established during the first month, try giving the baby a pacifier before he or she goes to sleep.

Sleeping on the back will flatten the back of your baby's head. To counteract this, when the baby is awake, put him or her face down. This also gives the baby a chance to strengthen his or her neck muscles and gain some upper body control.

You may have heard about apnea relating to SIDS. It was thought that babies stopped breathing and died, causing SIDS. There was a period of time when babies thought to be at risk, for example, premature infants, were sent home with apnea monitors. In fact, apnea has nothing to do with SIDS. Babies with apnea are no more at risk for SIDS than other babies, and the use of apnea monitors does not change the risk of SIDS.

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{ MORE: Is it Time to Re-Think the Co-Sleeping Stigma? }

When an infant suddenly dies or has a life-threatening event, doctors will focus on various causes of severe illness in babies, which can include heart abnormalities, problems with the gastrointestinal tract, brain disorders, infections, and trauma, among other things. Since suffocation is one of the reasons for the sudden death of a baby, parents of a child with SIDS are usually examined carefully. The percent of SIDS babies where they have actually been suffocated is anywhere from 1% to 5% of cases. Most cases of SIDS are tragic and inexplicable.

{ MORE: Read These Safety Tips Right Now If You Use an Infant Walker }

Any family who has lost a child to SIDS needs as much support as possible, access to counseling, and also group therapy. They also need to know that there is no increased risk of having a second baby die of SIDS.

What do you think?

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – What You Need to Know

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19 comments

  1. Steph says:

    I too lost our son Patrick to sides 26 years ago. The guilt and sadness never go away. We did everything right ….but he died anyway. To simplify risk factors such as tummy sleep are ridiculous. The sides statistics have not changed. Our other 4 children were raised the same. Instead of saying sides could be prevented environmentally,let science identify risk factors chemically through testing after birth. Babies have died in their mothers arms from sids. Do not minimize prevention. Now I worry with the birth of each grandchild. Even my doctor could not answer my questions.

  2. Grace says:

    i just learned this past month that i have had a friend who had a child who died from sids at 4 months old during nap time. they had done everything right, sids is a horrible nightmare to any parents that go through it. no one wants to lose a child before their time….

  3. Ashley says:

    I think information about SIDS, both articles and classes, need some sort of post-script. By all means, follow all the rules if you can, but do your best if not. My new baby has hated sleeping in a “safe sleep” environment from birth. After less than 30 minutes in a crib or bassinet and he cries terribly. And when I go to pick him up he gives me the most heartwrenching look, like, “I woke up and you weren’t there, it was awful, how could you do that to me Mommy?” If I hadn’t slept with him on the couch and now in bed, I wouldn’t have gotten any sleep at all in the first 4 weeks. We’re making improvements, he sleeps in the swing pretty well for naps, and on my husband’s days off we try to put him to bed in the evenings (and failed each time so far).

  4. Danielle says:

    great article every mom should read this so important

  5. Sierra Lyn says:

    Someone from my wic told me cigarette smoking can cause SIDS as well. I heard this and instantly stopped. But for those who didn’t. i recommend breast feeding, as i hear formula can run the babys immune system into the ground. Not a doctor so dont hold me to this. just what i was told!

  6. Melissa says:

    As the parent of a child lost to SIDS it’s wonderful that they offer ways to help prevent but sometimes non of those factors have any ground on why a perfectly healthy baby goes to sleep and never wakes up again. And i feel That sometimes the parents are secretly treated as bad patents because everyone assumes that the parents could have done something different and there angel baby would be here. I learned to accept that even the most tragic occurances happen for a reason .I only pray that some day we will know the cause and a better way to prevent this disorder like other vaccines help other illnesses. The hardest thing for me was not knowing why that’s all I ever wanted was an answer i am greatful for my oldest 9 and my son (her little brother who is now 3 ) and the baby I am expecting now but I wonder what she would be like today she would be 5 this march. I would never want any other parent to experience this loss

  7. Vanessa says:

    I say SIDS is horrible, I’m surprised that a baby I know didn’t suffer from it let alone go to the doctor because of him suffocating let’s just say his mother is someone that’s close to my family and god bless her but she should of been taught better on how to be a proper mom

  8. Marina says:

    Mom’s worse nightmare – SIDS

  9. Sierra-Dawn says:

    Good information to know

  10. Aimee says:

    It’s good to know before my first what not to do though!

  11. Colleen says:

    co-sleeping does not add to the risk of sids if done properly. it actually reduces the risk. please do more research before writing articles condemning common parenting practices.

    http://www.naturalchild.org/james_mckenna/sleeping_safe.html

    • Francesca says:

      I was going to write the same thing! Lots of studies have shown that safe cosleeping reduces SIDS. Deaths due to unsafe cosleeping have a known cause: suffocation.

  12. Jeanetta says:

    The fear of SIDS is always of my mind…

  13. AmyC says:

    Good info but still scary stuff

  14. ugh sids worries me so much

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