“If we knew exactly what causes it, we wouldn’t call it SIDS…” – John Kattwinkel
A child comes into this world with a load of responsibilities for the new parents. With each milestone, it is indeed an achievement for the parents as well. However, when going through this journey we all pray that things must go right and there should be no room for mishaps. Agree, a lot of mishaps can take place but there are a few which we can reduce. One such accident is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Sudden infant death syndrome also known as crib death is an unexplained death of a healthy infant during sleep. Though the awareness regarding the sleeping positions of a baby has reduced the number of cases of SIDS, there are still many countries where this is the main reason behind the death of babies who are between 2-6 months old.
There is no specific reason for SIDS. Factors like breathing, heart rate, getting too hot, mouth and nose being covered with blanket, pillow or linen may contribute to SIDS. Usually, this occurs when the baby is asleep both at night as well as daytime. It is not necessary that SIDS occurs in a crib, it could happen in a pram, a bed or even in the arms of the parent.
It is observed that SIDS is more common in winter. This is due to the fact that at this time of the year infections increase and secondly, we as parents put extra bedding and blankets and even heaters to protect the little ones from cold. But what we don’t realise is that by doing so we may actually be making the baby very hot.
How Can We Reduce The Risk of SIDS:
There is no way in which SIDS can be prevented. However, if we do our best it can be reduced. Here are some easy yet useful tips on reducing SIDS:
Sleeping position: When putting the baby to sleep make sure that the baby is placed on his/her back, rather than on the side or stomach. Sleeping on backs also ensures that the baby does not choke or suffocate. This should be followed for the first year of life. As far as possible try to check once that your baby is in the correct position, don’t assume that others have done a great job.
Share your room with the baby: Place the baby’s crib or bassinet in your room for at least 6 months. In India, it is a very common practice to sleep with the baby on the same bed. Agreed, we have been doing it but the reality is that adult beds are not safe for babies. Why? A baby may get trapped under the blankets or other bedding. There is also a chance that a baby may get suffocated by a sleeping parent if they accidentally roll over the child’s mouth and nose.
For the first six months, the bed was a big no-no for my daughter as instructed by her paediatrician. I used to place her bassinet in our room and she slowly graduated to a cot. Though things are different now and we have started co-sleeping! Also, to be dealt with!!
Don’t overstuff the cribs: When you put your baby in the crib make sure that the mattress is firm. Avoid using thick and fluffy quilts and stuffed toys. Though these things are kept with the good intention you never know they may cause breathing interference if the baby presses against them. It only takes a fraction of seconds for an accident to take place.
Avoid overdressing the baby: When the baby is put to bed avoid overdressing the baby with clothes and later with layers of blankets. This may create a lot of heat for the baby and overheating is one of the causes of SIDS. Try to maintain a comfortable temperature in the room so that the baby is comfortable. Signs like sweating, restlessness, damp hair and heavy breathing indicate that the baby is overheated. You can adjust the baby’s bedding by feeling their neck or tummy to see if they are hot or cold.
Breastfeed the baby: It is believed that breastfeeding the baby for a minimum of 6 months reduces the risk of SIDS. The breastmilk is rich in nutrients and gives babies all the nutrients they need to help them from infections.
A breathing monitor is an electric device being used widely these days to alarm the parents in case the child stops breathing. But how useful is this to avert SIDS? There is no evidence that these monitors help to reduce SIDS. Doctors don’t recommend its use for premature as well as healthy babies.
Theme Reveal, A – Autism, B – Bronchiolitis, C – Celiac Disease, D – Dyslexia, E – Eating Disorders, F – Fever, G – GERD, H – Hand Foot And Mouth Disease (HFMD), I – Imaginary Friends, J – Juvenile Arthritis, K – Kawasaki Disease, L – Leukaemia, M – Meningitis, N – Neuroblastoma, O – Omphalitis, P – Pica, Q – Q Fever, R – Retinoblastoma