Important Information about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
The National Institutes of Health defines Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) as “…the sudden, unexplained death of an infant younger than 1 year old.” The NIH also states that SIDS is …”the leading cause of death in children between 1 month and 1 year of age. Although there is no sure way to prevent SIDS, parents and caregivers can reduce the risk for SIDS.”
At Renaissance Women’s Group, we are concerned about our patients and their babies, both when we are caring for them during pregnancy and after the baby is born, so we would like to provide you with information that may help you reduce the risk of SIDS for your baby.
Quit Smoking to Reduce the Risk for SIDS
There are many things we still do not know about SIDS, but one thing we know for sure is that smoking during pregnancy and after you give birth (which exposes your baby to second-hand smoke) puts your baby at three times the risk for SIDS as babies whose mothers do not smoke.
In addition, according to the American Lung Association, smoking during pregnancy leads to 20 to 30% of low-birth weight babies, and up to 14% of all pre-term deliveries. Studies also show that low birth weight and pre-term deliveries are possible SIDS risk factors.
The doctors at Renaissance Women’s Group will support you in any way we can during and after your pregnancy by helping you to find resources to quit smoking. It is so important for both you and baby.
Putting Baby to Bed Properly Reduces the Risk for SIDS
Since the Eunice Shriver Kennedy NICHD (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) partnered with other organizations to launch the Safe to Sleep® campaign in 1994 to educate health professionals and parents about ways to reduce the risk of SIDS, SIDS rates have decreased by 50% in the United States.
Here are their recommendations to create a safe sleep environment for your baby:
- ALWAYS place your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night.
- Make sure nothing covers the baby’s head.
- Do not use pillows, blankets, sheepskins or crib bumpers anywhere in your baby’s sleep area.
- Use a firm mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet.
- Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area.
- Dress your baby in light sleep clothing, such as a one-piece sleeper, and do not use a blanket. Babies should not get overheated or sleep in a hot environment.
- Baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch or on a chair alone, with you, or with anyone else.
We do not know of any way to prevent SIDS, nor do we know what causes it. What we do know is how to reduce some of the known risk factors, and at Renaissance Women’s Group, we encourage our patients to follow these guidelines. If you would like to discuss your pregnancy, your baby or SIDS, contact us at our Austin obgyn office.
For more information about SIDS, go to: Safe to Sleep®