Throughout the spring, many organizations around the U.S. will hold events as part of the Spring for SIDS day campaign. This is national campaign to raise awareness of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – or SIDS. Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, tells us what we need to know to reduce the risk of this tragic event. She is the head of the Emergency Department and Nursing Administration at Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center.
What is SIDS?
Nurse Rose: SIDS is the sudden death of an infant under one year that cannot be explained even after investigation. It is fairly rare in the U.S. – about 1,500 infants died of SIDS in 2014, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What causes SIDS?
Nurse Rose: Unfortunately, doctors don’t know exactly what causes SIDS. However, you should follow these tips to help ensure a safe sleep environment for your baby to reduce the chances of SIDS.
- Always place a baby on his or her back to sleep – never on the baby’s stomach
- Use a firm and flat sleep surface, like a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet with no other bedding or soft items in the sleep area
- Share a room with your baby for at least six months, or ideally for one year
- Do not put soft objects, toys, crib bumpers, or loose bedding under, over or anywhere near the baby in the sleep area
- Do not allow the baby to share a sleep space with other babies, children or adults
- Pregnant women should not smoke and caregivers should ensure that nobody smokes around the baby
- Give your baby a pacifier for naps and nighttime sleep
- Breastfeed your baby
- Do not let you baby get too hot during sleep
- Give your baby plenty of supervised tummy time when he or she is awake and someone is watching
- Most importantly, seek immediate medical attention if you notice that your baby has stopped breathing or goes through periods of not breathing.
The risk of your baby developing SIDS reduces significantly after one year, however these tips are important to keep in mind as long as your baby is in a crib.
You can learn more about SIDS at www.sids.org.
Additional Health Tips from Rose
Find more family health tips online or tune into WGTS 91.9 FM every Wednesday at 7:40 a.m. to hear Rose live.