SIDS is devastating. While there is no pleasant way to lose a child, death due to SIDS can be especially difficult. Most of the time, you can’t directly identify what exactly caused it. This adds so much grief and frustration on top of a situation that’s already horrible.
While we’re not always sure what causes SIDS, there are things we can do to prevent it. There are a number of tactics that have been shown to reduce the risk and incidence of SIDS, including:
- Place your baby on her back for sleep. Every time you lay your baby down, lay her down on her back. This can reduce the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%.
- Use a firm mattress for baby’s crib. The crib should have a firm mattress, and should be free of any soft objects such as pillows, blankets, wedges, bumpers, and more.
- Get the proper prenatal care. Women who don’t receive the recommended prenatal care have a higher risk of their baby dying due to SIDS.
- Avoid smoking or exposing your baby to smoke. Smoking during pregnancy increases your risk of SIDS, as does exposing your baby to second-hand smoke.
- Give your baby a pacifier. Researchers aren’t sure why, but giving baby a pacifier at nap time and bed time seems to help reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Keep your baby in the same room that you sleep in. Bed-sharing isn’t generally recommended, however.
- Breast feed if you can. Breastfeeding is shown to lower the risk of SIDS.
- Don’t let baby get overheated. Avoid covering your baby’s face, and dress him warmly but no more than a single layer beyond what you’d wear.
- Get your baby vaccinated. Babies that aren’t vaccinated have been shown to have higher rates of SIDS.
- Give your baby tummy time during the day. This will help from developing a flat spot on their head.