Every year in the United States, 3500 infant die unexpectedly and suddenly. These deaths are currently being listed under an occurrence referred to as Sudden Unexplained Infant Deaths or SUID. This is almost always referred to as SIDS by most laypersons. Most of these deaths occur while an infant is sleeping in an unsafe environment.
SUID’s are most often reported as one of three types of infant deaths.
- Accidental Suffocation and Strangulation in Bed – Suffocation occurs when an infant is put in a crib or pen that has soft bedding or pillows. This often occurs when a child is co-sleeping and a parent rolls on top of their infant. It also occurs when an infant becomes wedged between objects, whether those objects are the parents and the bed, or a pile of pillows in their sleeping space. Strangulation most often occurs when an infants head becomes caught between two objects, like their crib railings.
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – SIDS is the sudden death of an infant under one year of age that cannot be explained. This happens without warning in what seems like a normally healthy baby. Premature infants seem to die of SIDS more often. Premature infants are those born before the 37th week or those with a birthweight under 5 pounds and 8 ounces.
- Unknown Cause – Deaths of infants under one year of age that were not or could not be investigated are considered undetermined.
Reducing the Risk of SIDS
There are a few measures you can take to help reduce your infants chance of SIDS. October is SIDS awareness month and there are some save sleeping strategies you can implement with your own children to honor it.
- Put Baby on her Back – Always put your baby on their back in a crib without bumpers, blankets, loose bedding or stuffed toys.
- Stop Smoking – Do not smoke in the house with your newborn baby. Babies of smoker parents are more likely to die of SIDS than other babies.
- Give Baby A Pacifier – Giving your baby a pacifier before naps and bedtime will ensure their face remains at a distance from any edges. It may also prevent more restless sleeping that could toss baby onto her belly.
- Put Baby in Her Bed – Do not co-sleep. Do not put baby’s in bed with other children.
Educate yourself on the Myths of SIDS so that you know the difference between false rhetoric and real safety strategies. Remember the individual risk factors that can contribute and do all you can to provide the safest possible sleeping circumstances for your newborn baby.