SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is every new parent’s boogeyman. Everyone is afraid of it, but there isn’t much generally agreed on information regarding it. According to much of the recent research on SIDS, its actual occurrence is thankfully on the decline. However, we like to say that the devil is most dangerous when no one believes he exists. In line with that perspective, it’s important to understand what SIDS is and how to prevent it so that its occurrences continue to decline.
SIDS cases are often deemed natural deaths but are commonly associated with accidental suffocation. Natural deaths are pointed to when abnormalities occur within the child’s physiology, such as undetected heart conditions. Many of these are hard to pin down from the armchair as a parent. However, the accidental suffocation cases are more readily identifiable and easier for parents to prevent. With proper education for new parents, we can help to ensure that the SIDS boogeyman doesn’t become a reality in your life. Additionally, new products exist which can keep new parents keen on any episodes or abnormalities and prevent them from turning into something much worse.
SIDS in Sweden
A 2015 study of SIDS in Sweden helps to shed some light on common causes in occurrences. This study analyzed all occurrences of Sudden Unexpected Deaths in Infancy (SUDI) in Sweden from 2005 to 2011. By pooling this data and examining the medical records of each case, researchers aimed to identify the specific environmental circumstances that accompany SIDS. The researcher’s concluded that bed sharing and prone sleeping were more common in SIDS than cases of explained SUDI. Unfortunately, further discovery was impeded by poor medical records in regard to issues like sleeping position, smoking habits, bed sharing, and pacifier use. Regardless of these missing links in the present research, this study helps to reestablish that SIDS is linked to bed sharing and stomach sleeping.
SIDS prevention starts with you
Here are the headlines of SIDS reduction methods that you can practice as a parent:
Don’t smoke or use drugs/alcohol during pregnancy or after birth
Stay sharp and keep a watchful eye on your baby. Intoxication of any level impairs your judgement. Exhaustion does as well. Accordingly, doing anything to depress your baby’s arousal should be avoided, such as environments that are too warm or other methods of sedation.
Don’t bed share
Whether you’re in your bed or in a chair or couch, the baby sleeps alone. Never with another baby, and never with an adult.
Use a bare crib
Leave the cute blankets out: blankets and other objects can shift during sleep and block your baby’s airways.
Put your baby on their back to sleep
Get the stomach time in while they’re awake. During play time, get in your baby push-ups and worming around. This will help your baby be more comfortable and willing to fall asleep on their back.
New products help to monitor babies in their cribs – use them. These can help to identify irregular heartbeats and other serious conditions that no normal parent will be able to detect. Accidental suffocation is remedied well by careful parenting, but sadly we cannot see into the organs of our little ones. These tools can.