Can You Prevent SIDS?

I recently had the typical new mom scare where you wake up and check your baby and have the sudden fear they are not breathing. I thought I was going to die and in a matter of seconds my heart shattered into a million pieces and my world was lost. Thankfully, my baby was still breathing and even grunted at me for poking her chubby cheek. But there are those out there who are not as lucky. My heart truly breaks for any parent who has gone through such a tragic ordeal. This lead me on a hunt for information on how to prevent SIDS.

What Is SIDS?

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS is heartbreaking to even think about. It’s as the name suggests, the sudden death of an infant with no explanation. No one knows why it happens or really how to prevent it from happening, so as a new mom this is a fear I live with.

Before I was pregnant with my daughter I didn’t know much about it. In fact, I knew nothing about it until after giving birth to her. That’s when my husband actually mentioned it (where I proceeded to nod and agree like I knew what he was talking about). After my recent scare, I needed more information and I wanted to know all I could about how to prevent SIDS.

Facts About SIDS

  • According to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute Of Child Health And Human Development, in 2014 alone 1,545 children died from SIDS and 90% of those deaths occurring before the child is six months old.
  • SIDS can happen to healthy babies.
  • The rate of deaths attributed to sides has decreased since 1990.
  • Smoking while pregnant increases the chances of SIDS threefold.
  • Males are more likely to be struck by SIDS.

Who Is At Risk

Mayo Clinic has a list of factors that can contribute to SIDS including the following:

  • Physical – Babies who have developmental difficulties or physical abnormalities are at a higher risk of SIDS.
  • Sleep environment – Co-sleeping can increase the chances of SIDS.
  • Risk Factors – Age, gender, race, family history, and being premature are several factors associated most commonly with SIDS.
  • Maternal – If the mother is young, a smoker, or alcohol or drug user, the chance of SIDS is increased.

Preventing SIDS

What every parent wants to know is how they can prevent such a tragedy from striking their family. Here are 5 ways you can reduce the chances of SIDS.

  1. Have your baby sleep on his/her back. Once doctors an pediatricians started recommending all babies sleep on their backs, the rate of SIDS decreased.
  2. Keep your baby’s crib or bassinet clear of all objects.
  3. Breastfeeding drastically lowers the chances of SIDS in the first 6 months.
  4. Monitoring your child’s temperature. Make sure to no overheat your child. Use a sleep sack to keep him/her warm.
  5. Once your child is able (at least 4 weeks of age if you are breastfeeding), offering a pacifier may help prevent SIDS.