What is SIDS and How To Prevent It?

What is SIDS and How To Prevent It?

What is SIDS and How To Prevent It?

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS, is a mortifying thought to every parent of an infant. As the name stands self-explanatory, SIDS is when the cause of the death cannot be pointed out and only after the death can SIDS be diagnosed.

A baby under the age of one can sometimes die in their sleep with no warning or symptoms and the reasons remain unknown and unexpected. Precisely, this is SIDS. Chilling, right? Every 1 in 1000 babies die because of SIDS and it is a problem hovering over the parents’ heads. There is no sure shot reason behind SIDS because of which, there is no one way to prevent deaths due to it either. However, the silver lining in this cloud of fear is that there are several ways to prevent SIDS and most parents practicing them have never faced the fatality of SIDS.
In India only 1 out of 10,000 newborns die because of SIDS. Also known as cot death or crib death, SIDS is a nagging nightmare in the life of every parent. Let us take you through some ways to reduce the risk of SIDS in your infant.

How To Prevent SIDS?

SIDS is mostly seen in babies when they cannot breathe because of reasons pertaining to their sleep environment, maternal care, or physical issues. Remember SIDS is rare so do not fret a lot but take all plausible steps to prevent your baby from falling prey to it.

Take special care of the sleep environment
1. Put the baby to sleep on their back

All experts and paediatricians will advise you to put the baby to sleep on their backs. A few parents claim that their children slept on their stomachs or sides since day 1 and they turned out to be healthy. However, this is extremely dangerous to your delicate and development newborn. This can easily suffocate the baby and is one of the leading causes of SIDS.

2. Steer clear of overheating
It is important for the parents to make sure of the TOG rating of the clothes or wraps that the baby wears, especially in their sleep. The TOG rating of a piece of clothing decides how warm it will be. Your baby’s clothing must be with respect to the room temperature. Higher the TOG rating, more the warmth. Make sure you do not cover the baby in too many layers. Their clothing must be breathable and snug. Swaddling is highly recommended for babies until their transition. Even while swaddling the baby you must not wrap it too tight as that will overheat and cause breathing problems and overall discomfort to the baby.

3. Co sleeping but not on the same bed
Irrespective of how paranoid you are to leave your baby alone, you should not put the baby to sleep in the same bed as you. Experienced parents do not recommend leaving the baby in their cot/crib in a different room. Ideally, you must put the baby’s crib/cot near your bed whenever both of you are sleeping. This way you do not risk rolling over the baby and also zero down on chances of your arms suffocating the baby. You can also comfort the baby immediately if there is a crying fit in the middle of the night.

4. Swaddle up
Swaddling helps not only to keep the baby warm, but it also keeps the baby from flailing their arms and startling themselves (Startle Reflex). Swaddling also intercepts the usage of loose blankets and sheets that can effortlessly suffocate the baby.

5. Have a clear cot/crib
A newborn baby’s sleeping area must be void of toys, pillows or any other objects. No matter how much they like the smell of the pillow or how they giggle at the sight of their favorite monkey doll, they should not accompany them in their cribs/cots. Loose and movable objects can block the baby’s breathing and cause SIDS.

6. Restrain from using soft surfaces for sleep
A comfortable surface is essential for a good nap but a soft surface can hamper the baby’s airways. A firm mattress for the baby is the best choice until they are in school.

Mama should be very careful with her habits and practices

Quit smoking
With a newborn in the house, Mama has to stop smoking around the baby and on a whole. Any kind of passage through breast milk exposes the baby to the risk of SIDS. Alcohol consumption and drug intake must be absolutely reduced as well. The smoking around the baby factor is not just restricted to the Mom but there must be no smoking around the baby to minimise risks of SIDS.

Additionally, do not trust baby monitors which claim to prevent SIDS as there is no one way to prevent the risks of the same.We want you to be aware and careful regarding your babies and the above is a pursuit towards lending you a little help on the parenting front. However, panicking is not advisable and must be avoided at all costs. SIDS is very rare and if the appropriate amount of measures are taken, you have nothing to worry about!

The information above is not a substitute for professional medical advice but sharing of information available on the internet and in books. Please consult your doctor for medical advice.

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