Even though Sudden Infant Death Symptom (SIDS) is rare, it is the leading cause of death of babies between 1 and 12 months of age. It is not the fault of the parent or caregiver, it can happen when everything is done right. However, there are steps you can take to lower the risk of SIDS.

Experts are constantly discovering new information about SIDS so it is important to be informed with the latest information.

What Causes SIDS?

It is unknown what causes SIDS exactly but there are some factors that increase the risk. It is more common in low-birth weight, premature babies and those who are a part of a multiple pregnancy(twins and triplets). It is also more common in mothers under the age of 20, smokers and those who didn’t receive prenatal care during pregnancy.

Safe Sleep Can Prevent SIDS

According to a new study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the majority of babies who died from SIDS had a sleep-related risk factor such as being put to sleep on their stomach. Follow these important sleep safety tips to reduce risk in your home:

  • Babies should always sleep on their backs not on their stomachs or sides. When babies sleep on their stomachs, they may have trouble breathing.
  • Cribs should contain a tight fitting mattress and no extra pillows, blankets or soft toys. Don’t use bumper pads or other products that attach to crib slats.
  • Dress your baby in sleepers instead of blankets
  • Avoid over bundling or covering the child’s head
  • Don’t share your bed with your baby. Babies shouldn’t sleep on adult mattresses. Your baby should sleep in his or her own crib in your room for the first six months.

For more information and other tips visit:
http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20120326/safe-sleep-can-prevent-sids-deaths
http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/tc/sudden-infant-death-syndrome-sids-overview

Breastfeeding and Immunization Lowers Risk

Now, doctors have one more reason to recommend breastfeeding and vaccines to parents. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently recommended breastfeeding to protect against SIDS specifically. In addition, fully immunizing your infant according to guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics has shown to lower your child’s risk of SIDS. In fact, children who are immunized have shown to be 50% less likely to die from the syndrome.

How to Cope if Someone You Know Has Suffered a Loss Due to SIDS

If you or a loved one has lost a child to SIDS, remember that each member of a family may respond in a different way. Family members may be suffering from feelings of guilt as well as grief. It is often helpful for families to seek support from a counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist. In addition, there are many support groups throughout Texas that focus on infant death. Visit First Candle for more information.

Learn more about keeping your baby safe and healthy at our free Prenatal Classes: Let us get you ready for parenthood with our free prenatal classes. We cover information such as over-the-counter medications, immunizations, feeding schedules and more. Classes are held on the third Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. or you can request a private appointment.

About the Author

Dr. Katalenas

Dr. Katalenas is a pediatrician and owner of The Pediatric Center of Round Rock and the author of the book "The Step Up Diet: From Scratch… The Quality, Quantity, and Timing Solution to Childhood Obesity", a guide to healthy cooking and eating for busy families.