After you finally bring baby home, you’ll be full of joy and totally wrapped up in motherhood. It’ll be hard to stop smiling for the first few weeks, and your family members will pour in from near and far to share your happiness. While positivity will abound in these first times at home, you also need to keep your baby’s safety in mind in every way. Of course you’ll have baby-proofed your home and spoke with your doctor about necessary precautions, but you should also think about sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

For babies between the ages of one and twelve months, SIDS is the leading cause of death. While experts have performed countless studies, there is still no definite cause of SIDS. It is only diagnosed when a baby dies suddenly without any other indication of a medical problem or condition. It’s certainly scary to try and prepare for a fatal situation if you don’t even know the true cause, but there are ways you can reduce your baby’s risk based on the results of various studies.

First, you should make sure your baby always sleeps on his or her back. Babies sleep on the belly have a greatly increased risk of dying from SIDS, and since 1994 when that was discovered, instances have gone down 50%. When your baby is old enough to roll over on his or her own, the risk for SIDS will be naturally lower. After six months of age, the risk drops significantly. After a year, your baby is in the clear. Next, you should sleep in the same room as your baby, but not in the same bed. Make sure your baby has a firm mattress with no toys or pillows, and keep the crib in your bedroom for the first few months. That way, you can hear any changes right away. Finally, don’t overheat your baby while he or she is sleeping. Your instinct might be to use as many layers of clothing as possible to keep him bundled, but you should only dress him in one more layer of clothing than you would wear as an adult.

These are a few proven ways to prevent SIDS. Breastfeeding, regular checkups, and pacifiers have also been cited as effective preventative methods. SIDS is unpredictable, but use these tips to prevent it as much as possible based on the research that has been conducted.

Source: I Kato: Pathophysiological studies of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Nagoya Medical Journal Volume 50 Issue 3 pp. 143-147 2009

Keyword Tags: