Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is a terrifying reality for several thousand parents each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, SIDS is the leading cause of death in infants 1 to 12 months old—causing around 1,500 U.S. infant deaths each year.
The danger is that young babies struggle with rolling over and lifting their heads—meaning they could end up in a sleep position that could lead to suffocation. With this in mind, it’s crucial for parents to make sure that their babies are left alone in an environment that supports safety.
Be on Guard
SIDS, by definition, refers to deaths of infants less than 12 months of age that can’t be explained. But most signs point to accidental suffocation and strangulation as the leading causes of SIDS. Keep your baby safe by following these tips.
- Get a proper crib—All cribs should contain a firm mattress. Remove loose sheets, blankets, pillows, bumpers and toys while the baby is in the crib.
- Babies sleep solo—Infants should never share a bed with other children, parents or objects. If you’re breastfeeding, be sure to put your baby back in the crib before falling back to sleep.
- Cribs stay close—Until your baby is capable of easily rolling in both directions, the crib should remain within the parent’s bedroom.
- Keep an eye on “tummy time.”—Many babies enjoy being placed on their stomachs. While tummy time can be very beneficial, don’t leave the room or let infants lay on a bed in this position.
- Provide a pacifier—Studies have shown that babies who use pacifiers have a lower risk of sleep-related deaths. Just make sure the pacifier isn’t attached to the baby or crib.
- Use a sleep sack—Sleep sacks, which keep the baby warm, are a safer alternative to blankets.
Although SIDS is still a real danger for all infants, there are ways you can ensure your baby is as safe as possible. Just remember these rules and, as the saying goes, you may sleep like a baby.