This October marks Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, a time dedicated to remembering all children who were lost during pregnancy or infancy.
Each year, there are roughly 26,000 stillbirths reported in the United States. An additional 4,000 children under the age of one die unexpectedly.
To commemorate the loss of these children, non-profit organization First Candle is teaming up with state and national organizations to raise awareness about the causes of infant death. To learn how you can take action in your community, please visit First Candle’s Awareness Month Action Center.
The causes of SIDS remain unknown. However, there are some precautionary measures parents can take to lower the risk of SIDS. Here are 5 ways to prevent SIDS:
SIDS, Pregnancy, and Infant Loss Awareness Month- SIDS Prevention Tip #1: Put Babies to Sleep on Their Backs
A baby should always be put to sleep on his or her back. The risk of SIDS is much higher when a baby sleeps on their side or stomach. A baby can easily smother in these positions, as their face may come in contact with the mattress. After roughly 6 months, you may notice your baby roll over in the middle of the night to sleep on his or her stomach. This is okay and you should allow your baby to choose his or her own sleeping position.
SIDS, Pregnancy, and Infant Loss Awareness Month- SIDS Prevention Tip #2: Breastfeed
Although the reasons are not exactly clear, breastfeeding is known to lower the risk of SIDS by nearly 50%. Some studies suggest that babies who are not breastfed are more prone to infection and have an increased risk of SIDS. However, it is important not to drink alcohol if you are breastfeeding, as this actually increases the risk of SIDS.
SIDS, Pregnancy, and Infant Loss Awareness Month- SIDS Prevention Tip #3: No Smoking
Babies born to mothers who smoke throughout pregnancy are three times more likely to die from SIDS than babies of nonsmokers. Secondhand smoke can also increase the risk of SIDS, so be sure to keep your baby away from smoke altogether. Quitting is always the best option, as the negative health effects are extensive for yourself and those around you.
SIDS, Pregnancy, and Infant Loss Awareness Month- SIDS Prevention Tip #4: Immunization
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies who have been immunized have a 50% reduced risk of SIDS. Be sure to talk to your doctor to discuss what shots and immunizations are recommended for your child.
SIDS, Pregnancy, and Infant Loss Awareness Month- SIDS Prevention Tip #5: Avoid Overheating
Overheating is known to increase the risk of SIDS in babies. Be sure to dress your baby in light, breathable clothing, while keeping the temperature at a comfortable level. Recommended outfits for children are “onesie” pajamas or a wearable blanket. However, never use a regular sized blanket to warm your baby, as they can become easily tangled and may suffocate.
For more tips on how to prevent SIDS, please visit WebMD’s article today. Talk to your baby’s doctor to learn more preventative measures you can take to make sure your baby is safe, healthy, and happy.
On October 15, celebrate Remembrance Day by lighting a candle at 7:00pm in honor of all babies that were lost during pregnancy and infancy. To learn more about Remembrance Day, please visit October15th.com.