Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, is the unexplained, sudden death of a baby under one year of age. SIDS is often called crib death, because it usually occurs while babies are sleeping, most often between the ages of 1 month and 4 months old. There is no sure fire way to prevent SIDS, but there are several things you can do to significantly decrease the chances that your baby will pass away from it.
The most important thing you can do, by far, is make sure that you only lay your baby down to sleep on his back. If he falls asleep on his stomach, or even his side, gently roll or otherwise turn him over onto his back. The number of incidents of SIDS has decreased dramatically since the 1990s when it was determined that tummy sleeping was a contributing factor to SIDS.
- Use only a firm mattress in baby’s crib.
- Ensure that the mattress fits snugly into baby’s crib, allowing no more than one finger to be wedged between the side of the crib and the mattress.
- Never lay your baby to sleep on a soft blanket, water bed, bean bag, or any other surface that is not firm.
- Avoid over bundling baby when it’s time to sleep. Baby should be able to sleep comfortably in a room with no more than one more layer of clothing than adults would be comfortable sleeping in.
- Avoid covering baby’s head while she is sleeping.
- Do not sleep with baby. While sharing a bed with a baby has not been shown directly to be a cause of SIDS, it is widely believed that it is not the best practice for your baby.
- As much as you are able, keep baby away from cigarette smoke, which is believed to be a contributing factor to SIDS.
- Breast feed if you are able to do so. Breastfeeding is believed by most experts to decrease the risk of SIDS.
Again, there is no 100% fool proof remedy that will ensure that any baby will not die of SIDS. But, that being said, all parents should do what they can to reduce the chances of SIDS as much as they can.