Preventing Sids - An International Dilemma

Preventing SIDS is on the minds of many new parents. Although inexplicable, there are practical measures that can be taken in the family bed, in your infant's own bed and otherwise to protect against SIDS.

You, as a parent desire baby sleep that is safe. Consider some suggestions that have proven effective in reducing the likelihood of sudden infant death syndrome.

  • sleep positioning
  • breastfeeding
  • co-sleeping
  • second hand smoke reduction
  • safe sleep area

The most important suggestion in reducing the risk of SIDS involves your baby's sleep position. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends the back sleep position to be considerably safer for infants.

preventing sids

Photo courtesy of biancasharp

Studies conducted showed that babies sleep much more soundly when lying on their bellies. From the standpoint of a sleep deprived parent it may appeal - I know someone who regularly placed her infant on his stomach to sleep for this reason despite the risk - it's tempting. However, stomach sleeping may prevent your baby from waking up from an incident of sleep apnea which is considered to be common among infants.

Another possible risk regarding the stomach sleep position is the chance of a baby suffocating into the mattress due to the inability of a young infant to turn her head. Another theory is regarding the infant breathing in her exhaled breath which is high in carbon dioxide. Whether or not all of these theories are truly correct - it's not worth taking the chance! Back to sleep is vital!

There are other considerations in reducing the risk of SIDS.

Studies have shown breastfeeding your baby helps. One study conducted showed a 50% reduction of the risk of SIDS in breastfed babies.

Bedding is another important consideration. A firm mattress - not a waterbed or couch - is imperative to prevent suffocation. Also, don't have fluffy pillows or blankets close to your baby - another hazard.

Bumper pads in a baby's crib are considered dangerous as they can decrease the ventilation within the crib. Health Canada - the health department for the Canadian Government issued an advisory against using bumper pads within cribs for this reason.

Use sleep sacks to ensure your baby stays warm. A sleep sack is a sleeveless wearable blanket that covers the shoulders, encases the feet and zips closed either up the front or around the bottom (at the feet).

I used sleep sacks for both my babies and they liked them, they felt cosy and comfortable in them. I had a few of different weights (tog's) of fabric to accomodate the variations in temperature change of our seasons. They can be pricey but they are not difficult to make as long as you are able to sew a zipper in.

Co-sleeping - when done responsibly - actually reduces the risk of SIDS! Reportedly, in almost all incidences, the lower the rate of SIDS, the higher the rate of co-sleeping. Bravo for the family bed and sleep sharing!

Other precautions to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome involves your baby's sleeping environment.

The U.S. Surgeon General's Report connects secondhand smoke to SIDS. Quit or smoke outside the home - for the sake of your baby!

A study of almost 500 babies in 2008 connects the use of a fan for room ventilation to a 72% reduction in the risk for SIDS.

Sudden infant death syndrome is a dilemma that has received a lot of attention. Is preventing SIDS possible? No. However, you can help reduce the risk of likelihood.

The studies conducted and data presented on SIDS shows the above suggestions really help lower the risk. Implementing them gives peace of mind knowing you've done all you can to ensure baby sleep that is safe.

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