According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Nearly 4,000 US infants die suddenly and unexpectedly each year. We often refer to these deaths as sudden unexpected infant death (SUID). Although the causes of death in many of these children can’t be explained, most occur while the infant is sleeping in an unsafe sleeping environment.” http://www.cdc.gov/sids/aboutsuidandsids.htm Most of us are used to hearing the term SIDS. SIDS actually refers to any infant death without prior medical problems while SUID refers to the period in which the infant is actually sleeping. This is what we are referring to when we use the term SIDS.
In 1994 the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, also known as the NICHD, became part of a group that launched the Back to Sleep campaign in which the goal was to educate care-givers and parents about SIDS and prevent early death in so many children. Between 1990 and 2010 the number of SIDS deaths has decreased by roughly 50% but 4,000 deaths per year is still too many.
If you are a new parent or care-giver to any child under the age of 1 year, then follow these 5 simple steps to help prevent SIDS:
1) Always place Baby in their crib without any loose bedding, blankets or soft toys. We naturally want to wrap our babies in cute, soft and cuddly things, but the truth is that an infant is not strong enough to roll away from those items when they get wrapped up in them incorrectly.
2) Babies will sleep better in a cooler environment rather than being wrapped up in hot blankets. When you dress your baby to sleep simply use the one-piece sleepers without anything that can wrap around Baby’s head or face.
3) Always start Baby out on his/her back in the crib. When your infant is little they may have trouble waking themselves adequately to clear their airway or move blankets. They also might have problems getting adequate oxygen if they manage to get their face stuck near a blanket and don’t yet have the strength to move.
4) Don’t sleep in the same bed with Baby. We know you are tired. We know that Baby keeps waking you up every few hours to eat and you just want to get a few hours of shut-eye but no one wants to be responsible for rolling over on Baby. Simply place the crib or pack-in-play next to the bed so you have a safe place to lay him/her down.
5) Avoid exposure to smoke. Because baby takes in more breaths than an adult, they are at a greater risk for death when sleeping.