Each year many parents suffer the pain of losing an infant to SIDS, a syndrome known to occur in infants. According to the CDC, every year more than 4,500 infant die, half of these incidents are due to SIDS. While many parents have been informed of the possibility of SIDS occurring in infants, more basic information should be provided on what SIDS is and how it can be prevented.
What is SIDS
SIDS is also known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or “crib death”. It occurs when a child under the age of one dies without any known cause. After the child’s death an autopsy is performed, medical history is reviewed, the child’s symptoms before their death is noted, and the death scene is taken into account. When no other evidence points to another possible cause, the death is then ruled as SIDS being the cause.
Risks of SIDS
Much research has been done on SIDS and the common factor or major reason for its occurrence is the child’s sleep position. For a time it was thought to be a safe practice to place an infant on its back or side to sleep, however, now it appears to be a high risk for SIDS. Other common factors or risks include:
- Boys appear to die from SIDS more than girls
- SIDS mostly occur in the 2-4 month old age range
- Infants placed to sleep on their stomachs are at more risk that those who sleep are their backs
- When compared to White American babies, SIDS occurred more in Black American babies.
- Some research may also indicate that SIDS can be linked with genes.
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Prevention of SIDS
Naturally it parents want to do what they feel is best for their children, to ensure that they are healthy and well. Knowing preventive steps they can take cannot only ease their fears, but it can lessen their child’s chances of SIDS. A few things parents can do are:
Smoking and SIDS
Avoid smoking altogether or at least around your baby.
Why is this important? The second hand smoke from smokers has been known to increase your child’s risk of suffering from SIDS.
Suffocation and SIDS
Avoid suffocation with proper bedding.
Why is this important? Placing items in your child’s bed such as pillows, toys, dolls, and excessive blankets can have the potential of suffocation your child.
Sleeping Position and SIDS
Placing your infant to sleep properly can help prevent SIDS.
Why is this important? Research has shown that placing your child on his or her back is the safest sleep position. Placing them on their sides or stomachs increases their chances of SIDS.
Baby SIDS Monitor
Use baby monitors to help stay connect with your baby.
Why is this important? Some parents choose to allow let their infants sleep in a separate room than theirs. Using good quality baby monitors can help keep parents aware of what’s happening with their baby.
Where does Baby Sleep
Allow your child to sleep in your room.
Why is this important? Having the infant’s bed stationed in the parent’s room will provide the parents with better visibility of their child. If something was to go wrong, they can take immediate action. Some parents even co sleep with their children, but that can impose a safety hazard to if not careful.
Parents can also take preventive measures by taking advantage of free online training classes and programs. A few of these classes are offered at:
- Educarer.org – The SIDS training course is free if you do not need a certificate.
- SidsandKids.org – Offers and e-learning educational package concerning SIDS.
- Healthychildcare.org – Offers a free online course to caretakers reduce the risk of SIDS.
It is every parent’s fear at some point, the thought of losing their child. There are many dangers in life that can befall a child; SIDS does not have to be one. Parental awareness will help parents to do what they can now to prevent such a tragedy. Informing other parents of SIDS can also help lessen the chances of another child suffering from SIDS. Many would agree with the statement that knowledge is power; indeed it is, when it is put to good use.