Preventing Sudden Infant Death (SIDS), Safe Sleep Guidelines
With confidence I can say, almost every parent to a newborn will find themselves worrying about SIDS.
The challenge is, how can we keep baby safe while most parents will find it a struggle to get their baby to sleep well in the first place.
What iss SIDS?
SIDS, also known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is a sudden unexpected "infant death of a baby less than 1 year old in which the cause was not obvious before investigation. These deaths often happen during sleep or in the baby’s sleep area." CDC
With advocacy and education around safe sleep, the incidence of SIDS has largely reduced, but the risk for each baby still exists and remains a concern. Every year, children die from SIDS or accidental deaths from suffocation or strangulation.
How can I prevent SIDS?
SIDS prevention begins prenatally and continues postnatally.
Do not smoke during pregnancy or postnatally.
Do not use alcohol or illicit drugs during pregnancy or postnatally.
Breastfeed baby if possible as studies have shown breastfed babies have a lower risk of SIDS.
Schedule and go to all regular doctor visits for your baby.
Include tummy time (while supervised) into your baby's awake time everyday to encourage proper head control.
Safe sleep recommendations to prevent SIDS
As a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant, my policy is to support and make recommendations as outlined by the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics). A such, I do not recommend any additional items in a crib for a child until at least 1 year of age. No railing covers of any kind, no additional padding or extra pillows in the crib.
Back is best. Babies who sleep on their backs reduces the likelihood of dying from SIDS as compared to babies who sleep on their stomachs or sides
Baby should sleep on a firm mattress, play yard, or bassinet that meets the safety standards of the CPSC.
Infants should sleep in parents room, in their own crib, play yard, or bassinet, ideally for the first year, but at least for the first 6 months.
Infants should never sleep on couches or armchairs.
No car seats in the crib.
A fitted sheet is acceptable but no other bedding or soft objects.
Do not elevate the crib mattress.
Nothing should be placed under the mattress or a fitted crib sheet.
Never use crib tents, bumpers, or padding.
Baby must be able to roll both directions before it’s OK to allow them to remain in the sleep position he/she assumes.
At the moment, the jury is out on bedside or side car sleepers. The American Academy of Pediatrics task force cannot make recommendations for or against them.
Baby should not sleep on a sheepskin unless fully supervised at all times.
Infants should not sleep unsupervised in car seats, strollers, swings, or infant carriers. Babies under 4 months are most at risk.
Crib should be located well away from curtains, dangling cords, or window blind cords.
Consider offering a pacifier at naptime and bedtime.
Avoid overheating and head coverings. It is difficult to provide specific room temperature guidelines but, in general, infants should be dressed with no more than 1 layer more than an adult would wear to be comfortable.
Swaddles are safe to use as long as baby is on their back and they do not overheat the baby. They should not be too tight around the hips and knees. When an infant exhibits signs of attempting to roll, swaddling must stop.
1 blanket - 12 months and up
1 pillow - 18 months and up
1 lovie toy - 12 months and up
Checkout my resources page for a FREE DOWNLOAD with American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations to keep your baby's sleep space safe and to reduce the risk of SIDS. If you've got your child's sleep sanctuary primed and ready but your baby just won't use the sleep space to sleep, I know how it feels and I've got you covered. Book your free sleep preliminary assessment call with me today.