How to Reduce your Child’s Risk of SIDS (crib death)


The sudden death of a healthy baby is one of the worst tragedies any family can possibly experience. Yet the tragic fact is that every year approximately one baby in five hundred dies suddenly, without any apparent reason. Crib death—known medically as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)—affects babies between the ages of one and five months (the average age is four months). At least half of all babies who die in this way appear to be in perfectly good health before death, while the other half often have had a minor respiratory infection. Frequently, parents only realize their baby has died when they try to wake her after she has apparently been asleep for a longer period than expected.

Despite a great deal of medical research, the cause of crib death is unknown. Medical consensus suggests that parents should be aware of the following factors:

  • Smoke-free environment. Try to create a smoke-free atmos­phere around your young baby. Never smoke in her bed­room, don’t let others smoke in any room in the house that she uses, and don’t take her into smoky places. A baby is at increased risk of crib death if her mother smoked during pregnancy.
  • Temperature. Every parent wants to be sure their baby is comfortable and warm. However, the baby is at increased risk of crib death if she is too warm, so use lightweight blan­kets that you can add or remove depending on her body temperature; and maintain a comfortable and steady tem­perature in your baby’s room.
  • Sleeping position. Doctors advise parents to lay babies to sleep on their backs or on their side with the arm positioned slightly forward on the mattress to prevent them from rolling over onto the tummy. Although parents worry that their baby may be sick and then choke when she is asleep on her back, this does not appear to happen. Crib death is more frequent among babies who are allowed to sleep on their tummies. If you are uncertain about the best sleeping position for your baby, discuss it with your pediatrician.

Crib death is still a rare occurrence, and few families expe­rience more than one. Aside from these basic general pre­cautions, keep your baby close to you when you think she is unwell—this will enable you to watch her closely and to notice any abnormality in her breathing. If you are at all concerned about your baby during the early months, don’t hesitate to visit or phone your pediatrician.

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About the Author: Alan Kennon lives a very happy life with two kids and a lovely wife. He likes to share his life time experiences with others about how they can improve their lifestyle and personality.

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