Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) refers to the unexpected, unexplained death of a child less than one year old. It peaks at 2-4 months of age, then gradually decreases. While experts do not know the exact cause of SIDS, there are several actions that may help you lower your child's chance of SIDS.
Get prenatal care early and regularly. Do not smoke, drink alcohol, or use drugs while pregnant.
Babies less than one year old should sleep on their back. Do not allow a young baby to sleep on their stomach or side. However, many babies roll over after 6 months of age and do not require constant monitoring of sleep position. Ask your doctor for more information about positioning your baby for sleep.
Other factors that may help reduce SIDS risk include:
- Provide a firm crib mattress.
- Breastfeed your baby.
- Do not place blankets, a comforter, pillow, or other bulky items under or around your baby.
- Do not let your baby sleep on a waterbed.
- Remove soft, stuffed toys and loose bedding from the sleep area.
- Do not cover your baby's head or face.
- Have your baby sleep in the same room as you do, but do not share your bed.
- Keep the bedroom at a comfortable temperature (68-72°F).
- Avoid overheating. Do not overdress your baby.
- Give your baby a pacifier during nap time and bedtime.
- While your baby is awake, place him on his stomach so that he can move his body.
- If you smoke, do not smoke in the house or around your baby. Ask your doctor about ways you can quit.
- Be sure that your baby gets routine medical care, including the recommended vaccines.
- Do not use cardiorespiratory monitors or other commercial devices that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS. There is no evidence that these devices are useful.
- Learn infant CPR.
Make sure anyone else caring for your child is also aware of these recommendations.
EIRMC offers pediatric emergency care in an area of the ER separate from adults. This means children will have less exposure to the sights and sounds of an ER that can sometimes be scary. If your child needs emergency care, EIRMC stands ready to help. To learn more, visit eirmcKids.com.