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Preventing SIDS


Shannon Bates, nurse manager in Covenant Children’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) shares with us an update on SIDS.

“Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is a situation where an infant has an unsafe sleep environment that becomes fatal,” Bates said.

She said the CDC and other health officials are warning that there are still 3,500 sleep-related deaths among infants in the U.S. every year. The American Academy of Pediatrics says babies should sleep on their backs in their own cribs, without any toys or soft bedding.

“Sleep-related deaths declined in the 1990s after a nationwide safe-sleep campaign, but a new analysis shows those declines have since slowed,” Bates said. “More than 20 percent of moms reported placing their baby to sleep on their side or back, while 40 percent of mothers reported putting soft bedding in the area where babies sleep. Pediatricians say both those practices can put an infant at a higher risk of sleep-related death.”

Best Practices:

  • Put your baby down on their back in a onesie that will keep them warm, with nothing else in the crib – no blankets or pillows, no toys or stuffed animals, no crib bumpers.
  • When the infant is old enough to start rolling over on their own, you still want to put the baby down on their back with the same safe-sleep practices.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics has recently recommended that a baby be in a parent’s room for the first year, until the age of one; or at the very least, six months.
  • So we want the child to be in the same room, but not in the same bed – that is very dangerous. Same room, separate crib or bassinette, that way the parent can still hear the baby and monitor more closely.
  • Another safe-sleep practice is to not co-sleep with your infant. Always put them in a separate crib or bassinette. I know as a new parent, you’re exhausted and it’s easy to fall asleep with your baby on a couch or bed; but you truly run the risk of rolling over on them, which can lead to suffocation.
  • Practice safe tummy time. Only do tummy time for an infant when they’re awake and alert, and being supervised. If they start getting tired and start laying their head down, or falling asleep, you need to turn them over on their back and follow the safe-sleep practices.
  • Infants are known for falling asleep in swings and car seats, but again, the safest place is in a crib or bassinette, with no blankets, toys, etc.

“The safest way is in separate beds, but close by so you can hear them,” Bates reiterated.

This post is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please seek medical advice from your physician for any related medical condition. If you are in need of a primary care doctor, click here to find one in the Covenant Health network.

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