5 Tips for SIDS Prevention – By Karen Barski, RN, Mom of Five and Inventor of Woombie Baby Swaddle
October is SIDS Awareness Month, and parents are encouraged to learn more about the risk factors involved in SIDS and what steps they can take to prevent it. SIDS is defined as the death of an infant, less than 1 year of age that occurs suddenly and unexpectedly and cannot be explained after a thorough investigation is conducted. SIDS is the leading cause of infant death from one to twelve months old. When parents better understand the risks involved with SIDS, this can help to reduce future infant deaths. Here are five tips on how to help reduce the risk of SIDS:
1. Always place baby on his back to sleep. Many studies have found that there is a higher incidence of SIDS among babies who are placed to sleep on their stomachs. It is thought that sleeping on the stomach narrows the baby’s airway and causes difficulty breathing. There is also a possibility that an infant sleeping on his stomach is “rebreathing” his own exhaled carbon dioxide. Baby must be put to sleep on his back throughout the first year of life.
2. Keep baby’s crib clear of blankets and toys. You never want to put blankets, comforters, bumpers, stuffed toys or pillows anywhere near the baby while he is sleeping. Baby’s head and face must remain free of any blankets or coverings. If using a blanket, make sure it gets tucked around the mattress. By keeping the crib clear, it can prevent rebreathing and suffocation. Bumper pads should also be avoided as they can be a potential risk of suffocation or strangulation.
3. Practice safe swaddling. A Pediatrics study suggests that babies who are swaddled experience a more restful sleep than unswaddled babies and can awaken more easily in response to noise, potentially decreasing the risk of SIDS.
For safe swaddling parents should always:
• Use a swaddle where baby can have good hip range of motion; swaddling too tightly can cause hip dysplasia.
• Use a swaddle that will not unravel- this prevents blankets from covering baby’s face. There are swaddles that do not even require wrapping!
• Don’t over-swaddle your baby or double swaddle- overheating baby is linked to SIDS.
• Consult with your pediatrician for next steps once baby is actively rolling. Also, try an arms-free swaddle to help the transition baby.
4. Keep baby at a comfortable temperature. You don’t want baby to get too warm while sleeping, so it’s best to keep them somewhere room-temperature and don’t excessively clothe them. It has been suggested that babies who get too warm go into a deeper sleep, making it more difficult for them to awaken. KidsHealth.org suggests keeping the room at a temperature that feels comfortable for an adult in a short-sleeve shirt.
First Candle, a national nonprofit health organization uniting parents, caregivers and researchers nationwide with government, business and community service groups to advance infant health and survival, says, “When a healthy baby becomes overheated, their brain recognizes the problem and attempts to correct it. When a baby predisposed to SIDS overheats, nothing happens to correct the situation.”
5. Place baby on a firm sleep surface. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, SIDS is sometimes called “crib death,” and while cribs themselves don’t cause SIDS, the baby’s sleep environment can influence sleep-related causes of deaths. It’s important to use a safety-approved, firm mattress covered with a fitted sheet and avoid placing baby on a pillow, waterbed, couch, chair or other soft surface. This can help prevent smothering or suffocation. You can check the safety of your baby’s mattress or crib by contacting the Consumer Product Safety Commission at www.cpsc.gov.
This article is not intended to give medical advice but to share tips from credible medical sources. If you have any questions regarding SIDS prevention, consult with your physician.
Karen Barski – BSN, 19-year RN, mom of five, Certified Infant Care Specialist, Happiest Baby on the Block Educator, and Founder of KB Designs, LLC – invented the 14-award winning Woombie baby swaddle and over 50 signature baby swaddle and accessory products, based on personal need, that have helped parents easily transition their new babies from womb to home. The new Woombie Air is the first breathable swaddle to regulate baby’s body temperature by allowing excess heat to escape to help prevent overheating. Visit www.woombie.com and like Woombie Swaddle on Facebook to enter monthly swaddle giveaways.