Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, stated simply is when an apparently healthy baby dies of unexplained causes, usually while she is sleeping. Most SIDS deaths occur in infants between two and four months old, with occurrences being quite rare for babies under a month old or over six months old. There is no sure fire way of preventing SIDS. It can happen despite all of the best practices. However, by following these tips, you can significantly reduce the chances of your baby dying of SIDS:
- Always place your baby to sleep on his back. Never lay a baby down to sleep on his stomach. Extensive efforts have been made to educate parents about this since the 1990s, and the occurrences of SIDS related deaths have dropped dramatically as a result of parents laying baby down to sleep on his back.
- If you smoke, stop. If anyone in the home smokes, encourage them to stop. If you can’t stop, at least smoke outside, away from the baby. Second hand smoke, as well as mothers smoking while they are pregnant, has been shown to contribute to the risk of SIDS.
- Don’t overheat your baby. Babies should generally have on about the same amount of clothing layers as adults. If you think your baby might be cold, one additional layer is generally OK, but no more. Overheating your baby has been shown to increase the risk of SIDS.
- Use a firm mattress in baby’s crib. Don’t lay baby down to sleep on a soft mattress, pillow, or other soft surface. Not only will she not sleep as soundly, but these things increase the risks of suffocation and SIDS.
- Make sure that your baby’s crib mattress fits securely in the crib. You should not be able to place any more than two fingers comfortably in between the mattress and the side of the crib.
- Put your baby to sleep with a pacifier. Not only will it help her fall asleep and potentially stay asleep a little longer, but it has also been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS.