Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplainable, sudden death of an infant. While the tragic death of a baby is only amplified by the frustration of not understanding the root cause of SIDS, there are steps you can take to lower your baby’s risk of SIDS. Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group provides these six tips.
1. Take Care of Your Baby Before Birth
Prenatal care helps lower your baby’s chance of SIDS.
Throughout all nine months of pregnancy, have regular appointments with your OB/GYN. Follow any recommendations your physician gives you including diet and lifestyle changes, medications, and vitamins.
2. Don’t Smoke
Never smoke during your pregnancy. Tobacco harms your baby and increases his or her risk of dying from SIDS. Avoid secondhand smoke by not standing near people who are smoking and not going to places where smoke will be in the air.
After your baby is born, continue to be vigilant. Never allow anyone to smoke near your child.
3. Give Your Baby a Safe Sleeping Environment
Babies should sleep in a crib, bassinet, or Moses Basket on a firm mattress or surface, covered with a fitted sheet. There should be nothing else in the crib, like toys, pillows, blankets, etc.
Never let your baby sleep on a soft, cushioned surface, including a sheepskin, waterbed, pillow, comforter, or other soft materials.
Place your baby’s bed in your room for your baby’s first six months (risk of SIDS is highest between months two and four).
Give your baby a pacifier when sleeping. Babies sleeping with pacifiers are less likely to experience SIDS.
4. Pay Attention to Your Baby’s Sleeping Position
Your baby should always sleep on his or her back until he or she learns to roll over.
When your baby is awake, have him or her in different positions including in your arms, on his or her tummy, etc. Moving your baby to new positions helps your baby grow strong and healthy.
5. Breastfeed Your Baby
Breastfed babies have a lower risk of SIDS.
For the first six months, only give your baby breast milk. Do not give them water, sugar water, or formula.
If your baby ever seems sick, visit your pediatrician.
SIDS is rare; it affects approximately .05 percent of babies in the United States. Despite its rarity, it’s essential to take steps to prevent SIDS. Find the right pediatrician for your family through Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group and learn more about what you can do to protect your child from SIDS.