Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden death during sleep of an apparently healthy child, under the age of one. A diagnosis of SIDS can only be applied after adequate post mortem investigations reveal no other causes. SIDS could be said to be a sudden death during sleep for no apparent reason.
It is impossible to predict if a child will succumb to SIDS. Medical research has failed to pinpoint a single exact cause but it has indicated various "risk factors". Knowing where the risk are can help you to eliminate them and thereby reduce the risk of SIDS by up to 75%. Use these guidelines to help provide a safe sleep environment for your baby.
Put your baby to sleep on his back
The "back to sleep" campaign is thought to have reduced Sudden Infant deaths by between 50 - 75%. This is fairly new advice. Older mums were probably told to put babies to sleep on their stomachs. However, medical opinion is unanimous. Putting baby to sleep on his/her back is the single most important thing you can do to prevent SIDS.
Use a firm Mattress with a fitted sheetDo not put your baby to sleep (even for a nap) on soft surfaces such as water beds, sofa cushions, sheepskins or sleeping bags.
Remove all soft things from the crib or sleeping area
Take away fluffy blanket, pillows, soft toys, duvets, etc.
Keep the baby's face uncovered
Make sure that your baby's face stays uncovered and that blankets cannot shuffle up during the night. It is better to use sleep clothing rather than blankets. If you do use blanket make sure that you place your baby at the foot of the crib (with his feet to the bottom) and the blanket firmly tucked under the mattress and no higher than the baby's chest.
Do not smoke
This one sounds kind of obvious for any reason you can think of, but please, do not smoke during pregnancy and do not allow others to smoke round your baby.
Sleep close to your baby
It is suggested that you should keep baby in the parent's bedroom until 6 months old. It is NOT intended that you share a bed with your infant. It is hard to follow the SIDS prevention rules in an adult bed. The mattress is usually too soft and the pillows and fluffy bedding provide addition risks.
If you (I mean your baby) use a pacifier for sleep or nap times do not reinsert it once baby is asleep
There is no need to. If your baby wakes up asking for it, that´s fine.
Do not allow your baby to overheat
The room should be at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult. Do not use too many clothes or blankets.
Make sure everyone knows these prevention tips
Some of this advise is new (especially the "back to sleep" campaign) and older carers may not know. It is important that everyone who looks after you baby is aware of the steps to keep your baby safe.
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