SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), also known as crib death, is a condition that affects infants, generally before they reach their first birthday. It is still not known exactly what causes this to happen. However, it is believed the way the baby responds to stresses may contribute to SIDS. This refers to how the infant regulates breathing, heart rate, and temperature.
SIDS is usually unforeseen and is devastating to a new parent. It's wise not to lay blame, as parents will likely already be blaming themselves. While researchers don't know exactly what causes SIDS, it is known that it happens most often in infants under the age of 6 months. It tends to occur more in baby boys than in baby girls, and is more likely to happen in premature babies. This is why it's so important to take preventive safety measures, whether your baby is full term or a preemie.
One of the most important preventive measures for SIDS is to put your baby to sleep on his or her back. This helps keep the airway open and prevents bedding or objects like crib toys from getting caught in the baby's mouth.
Another important tip is to avoid smoking during pregnancy and after the baby is born. Tobacco smoke is thought to be an environmental stress that can be a contributing factor. Make sure other people don't smoke around the baby.
Make sure your baby doesn't get too hot. Keeping temperatures regulated can be helpful.
Some other helpful tips include letting the baby sleep in the same room with parents for the first 6 months, making sure there are no pillows or blankets near the baby's face, using a firm mattress, and putting the soles of the baby's feet against the end of a bassinet or crib.
SIDS is unfortunate and a tragedy that can be prevented in most instances. But, many of these tips have been developed through research and case studies. They are meant to help parents learn and take preventive measures that can help ease their worries.