You have a new baby, everything is all fine and dandy, until someone says the word SIDS. Great, new scary baby acronym to worry about! And the stress of a new parent continues…
You don’t need to be a medical professional to prevent SIDS. In fact, prevention is all about the infant’s home life with their parents. I will break down how to prevent SIDS. That way you can continue worrying about your new addition to your family and have some peace of mind.
SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) has the greatest risk of occurrence during the baby’s first 6 months of life. The following are the 7 best safety tips for your baby in order to prevent SIDS.
Babies should always sleep on their backs during bedtime and nap-time. Meaning, tummy time only during wake hours. Until your baby is able to turn themselves from back to tummy and vice versa (at approximately 5-6 months), they are best to be kept on their backs to sleep.
When babies sleep in places that are not made for them, meaning on a bed, sofa/couch, they are at risk of becoming trapped and can suffocate. The risk of suffocation is even higher if a baby shares the same bed with an adult or another child. It is recommended to practice room sharing for the first 6 months (when the risk of SIDS is highest) which helps your baby to sleep safely. Room sharing means having your baby sleep in a crib or bassinet next to your bed, in your room. Baby swings, strollers and car seats are not made for unsupervised sleep. Sleeping in a sitting position can cause your baby’s head to fall forward which can make it hard for your baby to breathe. For this reason it is important to move your baby from the carseat to a crib or bassinet to sleep when you’ve arrived at your destination.
If the room temperature is comfortable for you, then it is comfortable for your baby. Make sure the temperature of the baby’s room is between 21-23 degrees celsius. Your baby is safest when he or she sleeps in a fitted pyjama or sleepsack that is comfortable at room temperature and does not cause your baby to overheat.
Babies do not need extra blankets because a baby’s movements can cause their head to become completely covered, which can cause them to overheat. If a blanket is needed, a lightweight and breathable one is best. Keep fluffy toys, pillows, and blankets out of your baby’s crib and bassinet. Mattresses should be firm and not too soft. Check for a label on the mattress, crib, and bassinet. If it does not have a label that shows the date that it was made, it may not be safe. Check regularly to make sure that the hardware is tight and not damaged. Health Canada only recommends cribs no more than 10 years old.
Exclusively breastfeeding for the first 6 months can reduce the risk of SIDS by up to 50%. We all know the benefits of breastfeeding just keep on going, but here’s just on more perk.
It is important for the family and any caregivers for the baby to be CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation) certified in order to be able to react in an emergency situation, and to save a life. The wait for an ambulance can be 5 minutes, and during those vital minutes you could save the life of your baby in the case of an unexpected emergency.
Maintaining a smoke-free environment, including third hand smoke (clothing and unwashed hands after smoking) can reduce the risk of SIDS. As per Health Canada, there are chemicals in cigarettes that can affect a baby’s brain development which can impact the baby’s breathing. Second and third hand smoke can also lead to allergies and asthma in infant later in childhood.
I hope this helped to clarify what is SIDS and how to prevent it. If you need some more clarification or if you have other suggestions, leave a comment below! Sleep tight everyone!