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Understanding Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Understanding Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

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Infant death is hard to understand and bear. Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS/Cot death) is the leading cause of infant death and happens when a healthy baby has a sudden, unexpected and unexplained death before the age of 1 year.

Friday, March 10th, 2017

How Can I Reduce My Baby’s Risk of SIDS?

Once your baby is born, you and anyone who cares for your baby can take these steps to lower the risk of SIDS: 

Although SIDS is rare, you can reduce the risk by always placing your baby on his/her back to sleep.

  • Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep during day naps and at night.
  • Use a firm surface covered by a fitted sheet for sleep. To prevent suffocation, never place pillows or thick quilts in your baby’s sleep environment.
  • Do not put your baby to sleep in a bed for adults on a sofa or on a chair, with you or anyone else. Keeping your baby’s sleep area in the same 
    room where you or others sleep reduces the risk of SIDS.
  • Keep soft objects, toys and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area.
  • Do not smoke during pregnancy and after your baby is born. Do not allow anyone to smoke in the room where your baby is placed.
  • If your baby is used to a pacifier, give your baby a dry one without strings.
  • Make sure that your baby does not get too hot during sleep.
  • Follow your doctor’s guidance on your baby’s vaccines and regular health check-ups.
  • Stay away from products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Give your infant plenty of tummy time only when he/she is awake and in the presence of someone. This will make your baby’s neck, shoulder and arm muscles stronger.

Although we do not always know the reasons why some babies die, there are steps you can take even before you are pregnant to lower your baby’s risk of health problems and infant death. Talk to your doctor while planning for a pregnancy.

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