What You Can Do to Minimize the Risk of SIDS.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death among infants between the ages of one month and one year. I am sure I am not the only parent who had the fear of SIDS in the back of my mind many times, as SIDS is unpredictable and largely unpreventable. This is possibly the worse tragedy parents can face and it can impact their lives and the loves of their whole family forever. However, there are risk factors and ways to reduce the risk of SIDS.
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) indicates that SIDS occurs most often in infants younger than 6 months of age and the incidence of SIDS increases during cold weather.
Research shows that possible risk factors may include:
- smoking, drinking, or drug use during pregnancy
- poor prenatal care
- premature birth or low birth-weight
- mothers younger than 20
- smoke exposure following birth
- baby sleeping on their stomach
"Back to Sleep"
Due to a great deal of research, doctors do have recommended steps parents can take to reduce the risk of SIDS. Thankfully the number of deaths from SIDS is dropping as parents follow these recommendations.
Perhaps the most widely recognized recommendation is that infants sleep on their backs – the NICHD has instituted a “back to sleep” program in order to build awareness. It is not known exactly why, but infants who sleep on their stomachs and sides have a higher rate of SIDS than infants who sleep on their backs. Since the campaign started in 1994, many more babies sleep on their backs and the overall rate of SIDS has declined by more than 50 percent!
Heavy covers are also associated with the risk for SIDS. There should be nothing in the bed but the baby- no quilts, comforters, blankets, pillows, bumper pads or toys.
Can Babies Sleep in Sleepsacks?
Europeans have been using baby sleep sacks for over 25 years. Clinical studies in Holland say that when used correctly (the appropriate size, weight, and clothing worn in the sack) sleep sacks are possibly the safest form of bedding for babies.
A sleep sack is basically a wearable blanket that replaces loose blankets and top sheets in the crib for a safer sleep. While it is becoming known that babies should be sleep on their backs, the potential dangers of loose bedding going over baby's head and overheating by using too much bedding are not as well known. Sleep sacks keep your baby's head uncovered reducing the risk of suffocation. We carry a nice selection of sleep sacks in our store as I really believe they can make a difference!
What Should Baby Wear Underneath the Sleep Sack?
This will depend on the type of Sleep Sack (flannel or quilted) and the temperature of your baby's bedroom. Most health professionals recommend a room temperature of 18°C (65°F). If the room is warmer or colder, simply adjust the level of clothing baby is wearing, just as you would adjust your own clothing (i.e. short sleeves vs. long sleeves, cotton vs. fleece).
I can only hope for a day when no parent loses a child to SIDS.