- Moms & families can feel helpless when it comes to SIDS, but we are here to help ease those worries!
- There are many distressing myths floating around out there that we want to clear up for you.
- Understanding SIDS, debunking the myths, & regular care for your baby is the best way to stay informed & prepared for the months ahead.
About 3,600 babies in the United States die suddenly & unexpectedly every year. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death of a baby younger than one year old. Although the cause is unknown, it is thought that SIDS is linked to issues with the baby’s ability to awake from sleep, detect low levels of oxygen, defects in the brain controlling breathing or a buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood.
At Pickles & Ice Cream Georgia®, we know how scary SIDS may seem to a new or expecting mom, but we also believe knowledge is power! By understanding the uncertainty of SIDS & the possible risk factors, you can stay aware & discuss with a trusted provider about you & your baby’s risks. Here is some information that will help you understand the risks of developing SIDS.
- Premature & low birth weight babies are a greater risk for SIDS related deaths.
- Most babies affected by SIDS are between 1 & 4 months. However, babies continue to be at risk through their first year of life.
- All children born to families that have lost a child to SIDS are at higher risk.
A SIDS diagnosis is only given after death if NO EXPLAINATION is found even after a death scene investigation, an autopsy, & a review of the baby’s clinical history. With no clear answers, there are many harmful misconceptions about the syndrome that can cause parents to panic & place the blame somewhere.
Myth 1: Vaccines can cause SIDS. There is no research or data to support this relationship between SIDS & vaccines. The risk of SIDS is higher for babies in their first 6 months. This is the same period when most babies receive their three DTaP shots. However, this does not mean the two are related in any way. Vaccination schedules are very important. Immunizations can better the health of your baby & help prevent disease. Have more questions about vaccines? Learn more here.
Myth 2: Babies can catch SIDS. SIDS is not a contagious disease nor is it caused by an infection; this means it cannot be spread from another person to a baby. Although there is no known cause, research tells us that SIDS is linked to the overall health of the baby. The healthier the baby, the lower the risk of SIDS.
Myth 3: Smart monitors can protect your baby from SIDS. Monitors that track vital signs (oxygen levels & heart rate) have not shown to prevent SIDS. These monitors are often overly sensitive, causing false alarms that can make parents anxious without reason.
The Proper Precautions
There are several precautions you can take to lower your baby’s risk of SIDS:
- It’s best for parents to share a room with their baby during his time, but not a bed. Keep your baby’s crib or bassinet in the same room to sleep until the baby is at least 6 months old.
- Back sleeping is the best sleep position for your baby. It’s okay if your baby changes positions while sleeping. Many SIDS deaths occur during sleep or in your baby’s sleep area. Newborns typically sleep close to 16 hours a day, so it is helpful to get in the habit of practicing safe sleep.
- Not only are pacifiers soothing, but they have also been shown to protect against SIDS. If your baby is breastfeeding, its best to wait 3 or 4 weeks to allow time for the adjustment. Don’t attach the pacifier to clothing, a stuffed animal or around your baby’s neck. However, it’s okay if the pacifier falls out while your baby is sleeping.
- Stay aware of your baby’s temperature while sleeping. Overheating during sleep is often linked to SIDS. Simply watch for signs like sweating or feeling your baby’s chest to ensure he or she is not getting too hot while sleeping.
- Breastfeeding can have a significant impact in reducing the risk of SIDS for your baby. We know breastfed babies tend to have improved immune & brain functions. What most parents don’t know is that breastfeeding your baby can decrease the incidence of respiratory or gastrointestinal infections. If your baby is prone to these types of infections, that could mean a higher risk of SIDS. Babies who are breastfed tend to have decreased arousal thresholds, meaning they wake up more easily & often.
It’s our hope that this information will provide you the tools to understand & possibly lower the risk of SIDS. Rather than feeling helpless, you’ll feel hopeful & prepared.
Those That Have Lost
Unfortunately, there are families that face the emotional & physical pain of losing a child to SIDS. There are resources and organizations that you can use to grieve and grow from this low point you & your family may be experiencing.
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Symptoms & Causes, Boston Children’s Hospital
- About SIDS and SUID, CDC
- SIDS-Parents and Caregivers, CDC
- Helping Babies Sleep Safely, CDC
- 5 SIDS Myths That Won’t Go Away: Breaking Down Dome of the Misconceptions About Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, HuffPost
- Safe Sleep for Your Baby, March of Dimes
- Pacifiers: Are They Good For Your Baby, Mayo Clinic
- SIDS, Mayo Clinic
- SIDS Risk: It’s More Than Just the Sleep Environment, American Academy of Pediatrics
- Myths and Facts About SIDS and Safe Infant Sleep, NICHD