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SIDS Awareness Month Article

Despite the existence of proactive steps parents can take to reduce their baby's risk of infant death, SIDS remains the leading cause of death for infants one month to one year of age.





SIDS Facts

Stop SIDS! Put Your Baby "Back to Sleep"

On this day, in communities across America, expectant moms will feel their baby's first kick; parents will listen joyfully to their newborn's first cry; and families will celebrate their healthy baby's first birthday.

Also on this day, seven babies will be lost to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS); more than 70 new parents will have listened sadly to their stillborn baby's silence; and countless lives will be lost to miscarriage and other sudden, unexpected infant deaths.

October is SIDS, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month Exit Disclaimer and First Candle/SIDS Alliance Exit Disclaimer (the nation's leading organization dedicated to infant health and survival) is joining forces with individuals, local and national member organizations, as well as corporate and retail partners to increase awareness about these tragic causes of infant death.

"It is our goal at First Candle to make it possible for every baby to celebrate not only their first birthday, but many happy birthdays beyond," says Dr. Marian Sokol, president of First Candle. "By ensuring that all parents and caregivers have access to important information that will help keep their baby healthy and safe, we stand to gain the most at impacting our nation's alarmingly high rates of infant mortality."

Despite the existence of proactive steps parents can take to reduce their baby's risk of infant death, SIDS remains the leading cause of death for infants one month to one year of age, infant deaths as a result of unsafe sleep practices are on the rise, and more than 13,000 stillbirth deaths occur unexpectedly at or near full-term. It is clear that lifesaving messages are not reaching all communities and all populations," says Sokol. "With education alone, we know we can save many more precious lives."

Action Steps

Providing a safe sleep environment is the single most important step you can take to reduce your baby's risk of SIDS, suffocation and accidental infant deaths. Take time during your pregnancy to learn all you can about providing a safe sleep environment for your precious bundle!

Safe Sleep Tip #1 – Back is best! Placing your baby on his or her back is the only sleep position recommended for babies. Side and stomach positions are not safe alternatives.

Safe Sleep Tip #2 – Where should my baby sleep? For at least the first six months, your baby's crib or other separate, safe sleep surface should be placed in your room, near where you sleep. Research shows that being in close proximity to your baby during sleep can greatly reduce the risk of SIDS.

Safe Sleep Tip #3 – The safest sleep area is a crib that meets current safety standards! The mattress should be firm and fit snuggly in the crib. For parents looking for safe alternatives to a crib for their sleeping baby, such as a bassinet, cradle or co-sleeper, please contact First Candle at 800.221.7437. Visit www.cpsc.gov for important guidelines on cribs and other infant products.

Safe Sleep Tip #4 – What about sharing a sleep surface? Remember, adult beds, sofas and chairs are not safe for sleeping babies and can greatly increase the risk of SIDS, suffocation and accidental infant deaths. Bring baby into your bed to feed and bond, but when its time for sleep, place your baby alongside your bed in his or her own separate, safe sleep area.

Safe Sleep Tip #5 – Be wary of soft bedding and blankets! Anything loose, soft or fluffy in your baby's sleep area can be dangerous. Take care to remove pillows, blankets, sheepskins, soft or pillow-like bumpers, stuffed toys and other soft objects from your baby's sleep area when placing them down for nap and nighttime sleeps.

Safe Sleep Tip #6 – Keep your baby warm and safe during sleep! Loose blankets in your baby's sleep area can be dangerous. Consider using a wearable blanket or other type sleeper to keep your baby warm and safe.

Safe Sleep Tip #7 – Never put your baby to sleep on top of any soft surface! This includes adult beds, waterbeds, comforters, sheepskins, pillows or cushions.

Safe Sleep Tip #8 – Pacifiers can further reduce the risk of SIDS! Experts recommend giving your baby a pacifier when placing them down for ALL sleep periods. By following the First Candle's Guidelines for Pacifier Use, parents and caregivers can avoid concerns about breastfeeding challenges and long-term dental complications. (http://firstcandle.org/research/pacifiers_guidelines.pdf Exit Disclaimer)

Safe Sleep Tip #9 – You will want to take care not to overheat your baby. Overheating is considered to be a leading risk factor for SIDS. Be sure that you don't overheat your baby with too much clothing or too warm of room temperature. When brining baby in from the cold, remember to remove outwear and any other coverings immediately, and do not use blankets or other coverings as a sun or weather screen.

Safe Sleep Tip #10 – Educate everyone that cares for your baby about these safe sleep tips!

Links

SIDS: "Back to Sleep" Campaign
http://www.nichd.nih.gov/sids/

Safe Sleep for Your Baby: Reduce the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/upload/safe_sleep_aa.pdf

Safe Sleep for Your Baby: Ten Ways to Reduce the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/safe_sleep_gen.cfm

First Candle
http://www.firstcandle.org/ Exit Disclaimer


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Content Last Modified: 11/1/2006 10:09:00 AM
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