About 3,500 babies in the United States die suddenly and unexpectedly each year. A thorough investigation is necessary to learn what caused these deaths. Sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID) include sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), accidental suffocation in a sleeping environment, and other deaths from unknown causes. Although the SUID rate has declined since 1990s, significant racial and ethnic differences continue.
While the origins of these issues are still unknown to many researchers, there are somethings we know that can help us prepare for the future.
Place a Baby On Their Back While They Sleep
Your baby’s risk of SIDS is much higher any time he sleeps on his side or stomach. (A baby placed on his side can roll over on his stomach.) These positions put your baby’s face in the mattress or sleeping area, which can smother him. So, every time you put your baby in his bed to sleep -- for naps, at night, or any time -- lay him down on his back.
Don’t Smoke Around Your Children
If you smoke, here's a huge reason to stop before you get pregnant: Babies born to women who smoked during pregnancy die from SIDS three times more often than babies born to nonsmokers. Smoking when you're pregnant is a major risk factor for SIDS, and secondhand smoke around your infant also increases the chances of SIDS. Don't let anyone smoke around your baby.
Breastfeed As Long As You Can
Breastfeeding your baby can lower the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%, though experts aren't sure why. Some think breast milk may protect babies from infections that raise their SIDS risk. Do not drink alcohol if you breastfeed, because that raises your baby’s risk of SIDS.
Vaccinate Your Child
Evidence shows babies who’ve been immunized in accordance with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC have a 50% reduced risk of SIDS compared with babies who aren’t fully immunized.
Keep Your Baby From Overheating
Because overheating may raise a baby's risk of SIDS, dress your infant in light, comfortable clothes for sleeping, and keep the room temperature at a level that's comfortable for an adult.
If you're worried about your baby staying warm, dress him in a "onesie," pajamas that cover arms, legs, hands, and feet, or place him in a "sleep sack" (a wearable blanket).
Walk In Sunshine is a charity the focuses on online resources for families who lose a child. We plan to continue to post articles addressing all types of child loss. We will also donate $1,000 to the final arrangements of any child loss in Union County from 20 weeks gestation until the child turns 18.
Our website is www.walkinsunshinecharity.org