While this is a topic that can feel scary and unpleasant, it is so important that new parents are informed about SIDS and SUID. As October is SIDS Awareness Month, it seems like there is no better time to get caught up on understanding what these terms mean and what steps we as parents can take.
The SIDS Awareness tips below will set you off on the right foot, but we are not medical professionals. We recommend that you also consult with your pediatrician.
What are SIDS and SUID?
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) are both terms that describe the unexpected death of an infant under 1 year old when the cause of death is not obvious. (Source: CDC)
When are babies most at risk?
SIDS occurs between 1 month and 1 year of age, however, most cases occur before 6 months. According to the CDC, there are about 3,500 sudden infant unexpected deaths per year in the United States.
Sids Awareness – What can parents do to help lower the risk?
Create a Safe Sleep Space
SIDS awareness is extremely important to keep your baby safe. It is essential that your baby has a safe space to sleep.
- Always place your baby on their back.
- Place them on a firm flat sleep surface, such as a mattress. The Newton mattress is an amazing 100% breathable option that also helps your baby regulate their temperature.
- Do not allow your baby to get too hot. You should leave off hats so that they can regulate their temperature and monitor them closely for signs of overheating when they have multiple layers on.
- Keep your baby’s sleep area clear. Leave out blankets, pillows, and soft toys. Bumpers should also never be placed on a crib.
Keep Your Baby in Your Room, but Not in Your Bed
While having your baby in your room is recommended, having them in bed with you is not. Your baby is safest in their own safe sleep space.
You can place their crib or have a bassinet like the Snoo in your bedroom.
Breastfeed if You Are Able
Breastfeeding is not a possibility for everyone, but if you are able it is thought to greatly reduce the risk of SIDS (even when supplemented with formula or done for as little as 2 months!).
Swaddling Can Help!
“The Safe Sleep Guidelines from the American Association of Pediatrics are clear: keep babies on their back for sleep, which is the ideal sleep position to prevent SIDS. The same guidelines also recommend avoiding blankets, bumpers, pillows and stuffies, all items which can suffocate a baby.
For many parents, the idea of leaving a baby in a crib, with nothing to comfort them, is not realistic either, so the perfect solution is to swaddle.
The ideal swaddle should have the following qualities:
- It should be made from a moisture-wicking fabric that helps baby to remain cool and dry, while they sleep. This is important in all seasons: During the winter season, sweat that isn’t wicked away will cool and reduce the baby’s body temperature, potentially significantly.
During summer, a small baby can quickly become overheated without the wicking benefits of the right type of fabric.
- The fabric needs to be flexible and strong to withstand washes and being pulled tightly around the baby’s torso, leaving the shoulders exposed, but also be flexible around the hip joints in particular.
Stiff swaddles, on the bottom half, that restrict the baby’s hip movement too much can lead to conditions like hip dysplasia. That said, loose swaddles are no better than a blanket, when it comes to being a suffocation risk, so it’s best to make sure the fit is nice and tight.
How tight? You should be able to fit a flat hand between the baby’s chest and the swaddle, but not more than that.
- A good swaddle will also come with a band to gather the fabric below the baby’s feet and prevent it from creeping up and creating a suffocation risk.
The other advantage to a band is that midnight diaper changes don’t require you to unswaddle baby and disturb them. Instead, you just remove the band and deal with the bottom half while the top half of the baby remains snug and secure.”
Swaddle Tips Above Credit To: Hindi Zeidman, a former foster mom, invented the Ollie Swaddle when her vulnerable foster baby Oliver was not sleeping or thriving. The Ollie Swaddle’s special design and patented fabric help create positive sleep cues so baby sleeps longer and better, enhances neurodevelopment, and helps baby self soothe. Ollie Swaddle’s elasticity allows for freedom of movement while the opening at the bottom makes it easy to change diapers. The custom-developed, patented moisture-wicking material reduces the risk of overheating and promotes physiological regulation.
The More You Know the Better!
There is so much to learn as a new parent, but SIDS awareness is extremely important to research and stay up to date on for the safety of your baby. The tips above are meant to help set you off on the right foot, but as always, if you have any concerns or questions you should consult with your pediatrician.
Pin for Later: Sids Awareness – What Ever Parent Needs to Know