SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome, is one of the things that new parents dread most. But by following a few simple steps on how to save a baby from SIDS, it is possible to significantly lower the risk of this from happening.
What is SIDS?
Before we get to the tips on how to save a baby from SIDS, we first need to talk about what SIDS is. SIDS is the unexplained death of a baby who is less than one year old.
For the most part, SIDS does not have any outward symptoms, and even healthy babies can be affected by SIDS. It is believed that it might have something to do with a part of the brain that controls breathing during sleep.
While the cause is still unknown, we do know of ways of how to save a baby from SIDS. By following these tips, you can significantly lower the risk that SIDS might happen to your child.
Let your child sleep in the crib, and not on your bed
Co-sleeping, or letting your child sleep in the same bed as you, can increase the possibility of SIDS. This is why it would be best for your baby to sleep in their crib, but not beside you on your bed.
Some parents might be opposed to this, as they would feel closer with their baby sleeping beside them. However, numerous studies have shown that co-sleeping has been associated with an increased risk of SIDS.
Additionally, adult beds can also prove risky for infants. They can get tangled in mattresses, pillows, and blankets, which can cause suffocation.
This is why it would be best to err on the side of caution and let your baby sleep in a crib instead.
Breastfeeding can lower the risk of SIDS
Breastfeeding has numerous benefits, and this includes lowering the risk of SIDS. Exclusively breastfeeding for at least 6 months has been associated with a lower risk of SIDS in babies.
So it would be a good idea to keep your baby breastfed in order to reap the health benefits of breastfeeding.
Your newborn’s crib should be inside your room
Another important thing to remember is that your newborn’s crib should be in the same room as you. You can place your newborn’s crib right beside your bed, so in case of any emergency, you can immediately care for your baby.
While you might not be able to co-sleep, keeping them close provides your baby with a sense of safety and security. It also helps give you some peace of mind knowing that your newborn is just within arm’s reach.
Lay your newborn on their back, not on their side
Babies under one year old need to be placed in a proper sleeping position, which is lying on their backs. Lying on their side or on their stomach can cause breathing problems, and they can sometimes get suffocated by their mattress.
To help compensate for this, make sure to spend lots of “tummy time” with your baby. Tummy time means placing your baby on their stomach when playing. This helps their muscles get stronger and prevents flat spots on their head.
Make sure the temperature is comfortable
Another way of how to save a baby from SIDS is to make sure that they are not too hot or too cold.
Overheating has been associated with an increased risk of SIDS. So it would be best to keep your newborn bundled, but not with too thick clothing. It would also be a good idea to avoid using head covers or anything unnecessary that might cause your baby to overheat.
If the room your baby is sleeping is has a thermostat, it would be best to keep it at a steady and comfortable temperature to keep your child cool, but not too cool.
Babies need to sleep on a firm mattress
Most new parents might think that a soft and plush mattress would be the most comfortable for their baby. This might be true, but if the mattress is too soft, then it could increase the risk of SIDS.
This is because very soft mattresses or bedding can cause babies to suffocate. Use a firm but comfortable mattress instead.
Water beds should also be avoided since these are too soft for babies to use. For twins or multiple babies, it would be best for each baby to have their own crib instead of sharing just one.
Avoid putting any toys or pillows in their crib
It might be cute to put pillows or stuffed toys in your baby’s crib, but these can actually increase the risk of SIDS.
Ideally, your newborn’s bed should be as bare as possible, with just a firm mattress and a fitted sheet. Newborns do not need any toys or pillows when they sleep anyway, so these should be taken out if they are sleeping.
Pacifiers have also been known to reduce the risk of SIDS
Pacifiers can also lower the risk of SIDS in babies. But do not force your child to use a pacifier if they do not like it. Just keep trying, and eventually they will start using it.
Additionally, if their pacifier falls out while they are sleeping, there is no need to pop it back in.
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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.