HKQ Kids

SIDS and your new baby

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If you are a parent with a brand new baby, you know that nothing can be more exciting! You want to make sure that everything is perfect, and especially, safe. Sleep is a very important part of your new baby’s development. However, SIDS is a real risk that you need to be aware of.

SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the unexpected, sudden death of a baby under one year of age that remains unexplained. It’s the leading cause of death in children between one month and one year, and in most cases, the baby was believed to be healthy. Studies have shown that SIDS peaks at 2-3 months, and is as much as three times more likely in certain ethnicities.

While the cause of SIDS has not yet been discovered, some common factors that contribute to an increased risk of SIDS have been identified. They include:

  • Infants sleeping on their stomachs
  • Soft bedding or unsafe beds (couches, daybeds, waterbeds)
  • Loose bedding materials such as blankets and pillows
  • Overheating due to clothing, blankets or room temperature
  • Mother’s age younger than 20 years
  • Mother smoking during pregnancy
  • Mother receiving late or no prenatal care
  • Premature birth or low birth weight
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke

To help explain the complex processes that may cause SIDS, The National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD) has put forward the "triple-risk hypothesis," suggesting infants who die of SIDS are:

  • in a critical stage in the development of their immune, cardiovascular and respiratory systems
  • susceptible to risks during this stage due to an underlying muscular weakness or neurologic defect
  • affected by an environmental cause such as stomach sleeping or soft bedding

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to help prevent SIDS.

  1. 1. Place your baby on her back in her own, safety-approved crib. The mattress should be firm.
  2. 2. Keep your baby’s room warm, but not uncomfortable. You do not want her to overheat.
  3. 3. Remove those fluffy blankets and stuffed animals from the crib. If you do use a blanket, make sure it comes up no higher than the baby’s chest, and the blanket is tucked in at the bottom of the mattress.
  4. 4. Do not allow any smoking around your baby.
  5. 5. Ask your physician about the use of a pacifier at night.
  6. 6. Consider a video baby monitor and make regular check ins while your baby sleeps.

Keeping your new baby safe, comfortable and warm and knowing you are taking steps to protect her from SIDS will also help you to rest more comfortably.

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