Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (“SIDS”) is the sudden and unexplained death of an infant who is younger than one year old. It is a terrifying prospect because it can strike without warning, usually in seemingly healthy babies. The cause of SIDS is uncertain, and for many, the deaths come out of nowhere.
In addition to deaths caused by SIDS, babies during sleep time are also at risk for accidental deaths from suffocation and strangulation. Approximately 3,500 babies in the United States die each year from SIDS and accidental suffocation and strangulation.
The above information about infant death is so incredibly scary (an understatement), but there is good news, too. Statistically, the chance of it happening is very low. To put it in perspective, approximately 3.8 million babies are born every year in the United States. Further, in the last thirty years, the risk of SIDS and accidental death from suffocation and strangulation has decreased dramatically. We now know that, by taking the right precautions, you can help keep your baby safe.
What are those precautions? The American Academy of Pediatrics (“AAP”) sets them forth in its report and recommendations. To read the full AAP report and the recommendations, which has much more information than our summary below, click here. Please note that individual medical conditions may warrant your doctor make other, or different, recommendations after weighing the relative risks and benefits. However, the AAP report and recommendations reflect what the AAP feels is best for most babies.
SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS.
- Always place infants to sleep on their backs.
- Infants should sleep in the parents’ room, close to the parents’ bed, but on a separate surface designed for infants. If you can room share for the first year, that is ideal. If not, doing so for the first 6 months is a recommended alternative.
- Infants should sleep alone on their sleep surface; do not let your baby bedshare with adults or kids.
- Keep soft objects and loose bedding and blankets out of sleep area. This includes stuffed animals and crib bumpers. To keep your baby comfortable while sleeping, use sleepsacks. At Bumbershoots by Nana, we call our sleepsacks “Bumbers.” Sleepsacks are also called “wearable blankets.”
- Protect against overheating. Infants should be dressed appropriately for the environment, with no greater than one layer more than an adult would wear to be comfortable in that environment. TIP: If using a heavier-weight Bumber, maintain a cooler room temperature and use a lightweight pajama. For more information on safe temperatures for baby, click here.
- Do not allow smoke around your infant and minimize any alcohol or drug intake when breastfeeding. TIP: If you have consumed alcohol, consider using a testing device such as UpSpring Milkscreen to ensure milk is safe for baby.
- Make sure babies sleep on a firm surface.
- Stay up-to-date on the research.
In addition, the AAP notes that the risk of SIDS decreases with breastfeeding, proper prenatal care, immunization consistent with the policies of the AAP and the Center for Disease Control, and tummy time while the child is awake and supervised. It also cautions against using commercial devices that are inconsistent with safe sleep recommendations and at-home cardiorespiratory monitors.
Spread the word! If your baby is ever put to bed by grandparents and other caregivers, you might also share this information with them. If you would like a free card with abbreviated version of this information on it, please contact email@example.com. We also include this card with every sleepsack we sell.