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SIDS - Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) - The sudden unexplained death of a healthy infant between the age of 1 month and 1 year. Approximately 2,500 babies die each year of SIDS in the United States alone. Buy why? Although extensive research has taken place, no definitive cause has yet been found. SIDS strikes without warning and is only used as a diagnosis once all other medical conditions have been ruled out. SIDS generally occurs between the ages of 2-4 months and most often during periods of cold weather. There is no one risk factor that is greater but there are many steps that can be taken by parents to greatly reduce your babies risk.
Prevention of SIDS can begin as early as when the mother is pregnant. Things to avoid include:
Smoking and drinking alcohol
Other common risk factors that have become very well know to the public are associated with the babies sleeping habits and environment. Although we want are babies to be snug and tight and warm parents must use the following precautions to help prevent SIDS:
Stomach Sleeping: Although very popular, babies who are put to sleep on their stomachs have had a higher incidence of SIDS. Researchers have hypothesized that stomach sleeping puts pressure on a baby's jaw, and narrows the airway, hampering breathing.
Always make sure your baby sleeps on a firm mattress to prevent re-breathing of stale air, raising the carbon dioxide levels in their systems.
Do not smoke near your baby. Infants exposed to smoke during pregnancy and also after birth have a 3 time higher risk of SIDS.
Ensure that your baby receives regular scheduled medical check-ups by a pediatrician.
Breast feed when possible. The reason is unknown but breast fed babies have a lower incidence of SIDS.
Give you baby a pacifier during the first year. This has also been linked to a lower risk of SIDS, reason is unknown.
Never sleep in the same bed with your baby. After nursing or cuddling, return your baby to a nearby cradle or bassinet. A separate sleep space is the safest place for your newborn.
Thorough research continues on a daily basis to find out the true cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Until medical experts reach a solid conclusion, take the above precautions to reduce your baby’s risk and keep up to date on the latest developments by visiting the American SIDS Institute website.