SIDS is a term used to describe the sudden death of a seemingly healthy baby.
SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is also commonly referred to as Crib or Cot Death.
SIDS usually occurs in children under the age of six months, during sleep times and is the result of more deaths in children than from illness and accidents put together. There is no known reason why children die of SIDS.
Because their is no documented proof of why children die from SIDS, only assumptions can be made for the prevention of such a devastating problem, to try and reduce the risk of SIDS to your child the following tips may be useful.
Use a firm mattress in your babies cot. Soft pillows, plush bed coverings and soft toys all pose a risk of your child’s face becoming covered and having their oxygen cut off, causing suffocation.
SIDS is increased when the child is sleeping on their stomach or side. One fear that many parents have is there child may choke on their vomit while sleeping, research suggests that healthy children sleeping on their backs are no more likely to choke on their vomit than a child sleeping on their side or tummy.
If your child has been put to sleep on their back since birth, there is little reason to buy any special products to stop them from rolling over, once they can roll over on their own they are usually no longer at risks of SIDS. If on the chance that your baby does manage to roll over, keep persisting with rolling the child back onto their back, they will soon get used to it. One other trick is to place a mobile over their cot to keep their attention until they go to sleep.
Always make sure their is no chance of the babies face being covered or smothered. Remove any loose coverings and soft toys from their cot. Position the babies feet at the bottom of the cot and tuck any loose bedding under that mattress to secure it from being loosed.
Never use a sheepskin or hot water bottle in your babies cot, no matter how tempting it may be or how wonderful the marketing makes the product out to be.
If you have an inexperienced baby sitter, make sure they understand the importance of putting your child to sleep on their back and remove any loose bedding or soft toys from the cot.
Babies can also overheat, your baby will gain and lose most of their body heat through their head. If the babies head becomes covered it may cause them to overheat. If you heat the child’s room with a heater, a good idea is to place a thermometer in the room, set the temperature to a reasonable level and keep a constant eye on it. Turn the heater off at night when you go to bed.
Don’t put too many layers of clothing or bedding on your child, or if you wrap your child don’t over wrap them, usually if your home is well heated a single jumpsuit and a light blanket will be all that is needed to keep baby warm during the night.
If either of the parents smoke, avoid your child being exposed to the smoke, it is yet to be proven, but second hand smoke may be a contributing factor to SIDS. In any case you wouldn’t want your baby breathing in all those harmful chemicals would you.
Place a Baby Breathing Monitor, which are often used in hospital intensive care units, in the child’s room so you can keep an ear out for any breathing irregularities during sleep time. If the monitor picks up on any changes in the child’s breathing it will sound an alarm. In the event of an emergency your response can be immediate.
These monitors can give some sense of security to the parent, but can also be a source of frustration, the monitors are not known to be 100% accurate and at times can sound out a false alarm.
You can also have your baby sleep in the same room as you, but this can be a major drain on your sleep time, trying to sleep with one ear on your child’s breathing rhythm will reduce the quality of your sleep and play havoc on your nerves.
If your child has a cold or sniffle, avoid using a sedating antihistamine, there are minor benefits to these remedies and the sedating effects are not advised for small children.
If your baby experiences any diarrhea, has a temperature, or vomits abnormally then take your child to the doctor immediately, even if the symptoms seems trivial, medical advice should be sought.
Keep a list of emergency numbers on hand and if at all possible learn how to apply first aid and CPR.