How parents can prevent SIDS – Statesman Journal
About 3,700 infants died from Sudden Unexpected Infant Death in the United States in 2015. About 1,600 of them died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
SIDS deaths are those that cannot obviously be explained after investigation. Over the past 25 years, SIDS deaths have decreased by about 70 percent, seemingly tied to safe sleep and back to sleep initiatives introduced in the 1990s. Over that same time frame, there has been an increase in deaths classified as accidental suffocation. Remember, true SIDS applies to those deaths that are unexplainable.
Every one of these deaths is a tragedy, but we know that most are likely preventable because investigations reveal some degree of unsafe sleeping conditions in three out of four cases of SIDS. Fortunately, the incidence of SIDS in this country is at an all-time low because of what we have learned about infant sleep behavior, a baby’s natural vulnerability and contributing environmental factors.
Because no two families, babies or homes are alike, there are many things that can contribute to SIDS and SUID. To address these concerns, healthcare professionals make the following recommendations (which have saved several thousand babies each year) to keep babies safe:
Keep baby healthy. Do not smoke before or after the baby’s birth. Attend regular checkups and discuss any notable family health history with your doctor. If you had a complicated pregnancy, talk to your provider about what that may mean for your baby’s health and development.
Keep baby’s airway clear. Put baby to bed in a bare crib free of blankets, pillows, bumper pads, stuffed animals or positioning devices. Place baby on his or her back to sleep, alone. DO NOT co-sleep with your baby in your bed, in a chair or on the sofa.
Keep baby alert. An overheated, overtired or sedated baby may have more difficulty reacting to or alerting parents about his distress. Illness, fever or a bed that’s too warm can make a baby unnecessarily groggy.
Keep parents alert. Parenting is exhausting, yes. But parents should avoid any situation that makes them less responsive to their baby’s needs such as being overtired or using alcohol or drugs.
While one of the most alarming aspects of SIDS is that it is unexpected and unpredictable, a greater number of unexpected infant deaths are preventable, and parents can take steps to make sure their babies have the best possible sleep experience — and greatly reducing their SIDS fears.
Erin Cramer, PA-C, ATC, Sublimity Medical Clinic, part of Santiam Hospital, santiamhospital.org