For each year, there are around 3,500 infants die in sleep, for various reasons. Some die for suffocation, some die for sudden infant death syndrome, known as SIDS.
No one would suffer the pain of losing babies. That is why you need to get basic knowledge and solutions as precautions.
Symptoms of SIDS still keeps as a myth nowadays, but there is evidence showing that multiple actional movements can reduce the risk.
What Is SIDS?
SIDS refers to sudden infant death syndrome, it happens during sleep, which is also known as crib death. It is an unexpected yet unexplained death happened on a healthy baby. Some suspects that it relates to the infections of the brain controlling waking from sleep. It’s worth noting that SIDS is different from infant shudder syndrome.
Causes of SIDS
The cause of SIDS still remains a mystery. But there do have some factors contributing to death to some extent.
- It is believed that certain infections on the brain may cause SIDS, for it has trouble in controlling the sleeping condition;
- Low birth weight baby is more vulnerable;
- Some respiratory infections also lead to sudden death in sleep. There are several cases that babies get cold result in breathing problem, and died in a dream.
Sleep Environmental Factors
Bad sleeping positions lead directly to the suffocation or even death during sleep.
1. Sleep on the stomach cause choke
Since 2015, experts have launched a “back to sleep” campaign. It highly criticisms the stomach sleep, getting baby into the danger of being choked down.
2. Sleep on soft surface block infant’s airway
Soft thing around babies can be a dangerous thing, for the baby faces the danger of being covered by mattress or pad.
3. Share a bed with a baby isn’t a good idea
It is a must to keep an eye on the baby for 24 hours and to keep it sleep in the same room. But definitely not the same bed!
4. Avoid overheating
Overheating during sleep is also a major cause of sudden death syndrome.
- Sex – Boys are more likely to cause SIDS
- Age – Babies from 2 to 4 months are the most vulnerable stage, thus are easier to die for sudden causes
- Family history – If a baby is born from a family with SIDS history, then he or she has large higher risk of SIDS
- Secondhand smoke – Secondhand smoke does great damage to the baby’s brain, and causes no more than multiple developmental infections, but push baby at high risk of SIDS.20-30 minutes per day
- Being premature – Being either too low weight or heavy weight causes harmful influence on baby’s development also faces a large possibility of die in sleep.
Maternal Risk Factors
The condition of the mother in pregnancy also causes sudden death syndrome of the baby.
- Younger than 20;
- Drink alcohol or use drugs;
- Smoke cigarettes;
- Inadequate prenatal care.
Prevention of SIDS
There is no evidence that necessity preventions can kill the SIDS in the buds directly, but it does significantly reduce the risk.
Always sleeping on the back
When the baby is sleeping on his back, his airway is always unobstructed. Thus, you should always keep your baby sleep on the back, remember, back to sleep during the whole first year after he was born.
And try to abandon the baby device that sooth baby with stomach sleep. (Except for tummy time use.)
Insist on sleep on a hard crib
A soft crib or mattress is not only harmful to bone development of the baby but also place the baby at high risk of sudden death.
Throw all the extra cushions away from the crib
The plush toys and extra beddings, such as pillows and pads, easily block baby’s airway.
Share a room instead of the bed
Infant baby needs to sleep along with parents under a supervisor, thus experts strongly suggest him to sleep in the same room with parents. However, do not get it wrong! You should never share the same bed with him, for adult’s bed is not designed for babies, they may fall off from the side.
Insist on breastfeeding
It is believed that breast-feed can do a great help in preventing SIDS. So you should insist on breast feed as long as you can.
Discard baby monitor or other devices
Do not waste your money on the so-called baby monitors that boast to reduce the possibility of SIDS. All you need to do is to monitor with your own eyes.
Pacifier can be help
A baby pacifier can be quite helpful in reducing the rate of SIDS. You can use it after the age of 1 month, or he may have nipple confusion.
Do not force him to use it, and once it falls off, do not put it back in his mouth again. It serves as a good soother to be put in mouth. So, keep it clean! There is no need to cover it with sweet things, the plain pacifier is the best.
Regularly immunization is a must
In early of the years, some claim that immunizes a baby may contribute to death in sleep. Well, it proves to be nonsense. According to the annual test, immunizing baby with vaccination can lower the rate of SIDS to 50%.
Use baby gear as a soother instead of a sleeper
Apart from crib or bassinet, all other baby gears are not designed specifically for sleeping (While some may be suitable for a nap, but not ideal for long time sleeping.) Such as baby rocker, swing, or car seat. Once the baby falls into sleep in such gears, you should move him to bed as soon as possible.
The DO and DON’T List for Safe Sleep
- Do put your baby to sleep on his/her back
- Do put your baby in a crib to sleep for naptime and bedtime
- Do use a firm crib mattress covered by a fitted sheet
- Do share the same room with your baby
- Do breastfeed your baby as long as possible
- Do keep your baby’s immunizations up to date
- Do insist on tummy time
- Don’t put your baby to sleep on his/her stomach
- Don’t let your baby sleep in car seat or swing for long time
- Don’t put extra beddings on the crib
- Don’t share a same bed with baby
- Don’t use sleep positioners
- Don’t smoke around babies
There is now no 100% effective ways to get rid of SIDS totally, but the numbers are dropping sharply because of some positive actions. In 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended safe sleep, and during 1994, it launched a campaign known as “back to sleep.” The death rate dropped 60%. It fell from 154.5 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 39.4 deaths in 2015.
Thus, it does help a lot in taking safe sleep.
And the followings are the treatments or tips on safe sleep:
- Stick to back to sleep always!
- Abandon soft mattress or crib;
- Start using pacifier;
- Avoid overheating;
- Keep tummy time before 6 months of age.
Why Can’t Baby Sleep on Stomach
Sleep on the stomach may reduce the possibility of getting flat head syndrome, but meanwhile, it causes SIDS directly. When you put the baby down on the belly, his face is easily get covered by beddings, which means the airway is blocked. Moreover, sleeping on the stomach makes baby breath in less fresh air but more carbon dioxide, which leads directly to the infection of brain development.
Then you may ask, can I keep my baby side sleep?
Side sleep is as unsafe as stomach sleep, for baby rolls over to belly sleep easily. It gets baby into the same embarrassing situation as stomach sleep.
#1. Does SIDS happen instantly?
SIDS is a sudden death happened during sleep for different reasons, mostly related to suffocation. Thus, during midnight, most parents are sleeping soundly and cannot be aware of the danger in time.
#2. Can A Baby Die of SIDS While Being Held?
Yes. According to the data, 94.7% of babies die in midnight for SIDS, but there is still a small amount of number die in the daytime while they are awake. When holding a baby, you should never cover the mouth and nose of him, keep his airway unblocked all the time. And never get him overheated.
Common Misconception on SIDS
Stomach sleep is always bad.
Stomach sleep has a higher rate of getting SIDS, but it does not mean baby cannot lie in his stomach. When he is awake, you can place it on the belly to get tummy time, which helps him strengthen the muscle of the upper body.
Immunizations cause SIDS.
There is no direct relationship between Immunization and SIDS. Plus, getting suitable immunization in the recommended age is a must.
Back sleep causes the flat head syndrome
This is perhaps the most problematics myth of newborn baby. Back sleep does add much pressure on the head, but it is not a single cause! The tummy time is the key solution to solve the problem. Besides, you can keep baby stay in an upright position when he is awake. Changing baby’s head directions constantly during sleep is also a good choice.
Back to sleep cause choking.
There is no evidence showing there is a relationship between the two phenomena.
Side sleep is a good position for baby.
Side sleep is as unsafe as belly sleep, for baby is at large risk of rolling over to stomach sleep. Thus, the best sleeping position is always back to sleep.
It is better to sleep together with parents on the same bed.
Sleeping with parents on the same bed is one of the major causes of SIDS, for adult’s bed is not suitable for a small baby to use. Plus, there is a great potential in getting baby overheating when sleeping on the same bed. Instead, he or she should be left on a separate sleeping condition, such as on a crib or on a bassinet. In a word, share a room but not share a bed!
The SIDS cannot be prevented at all.
The symptom of SIDS still keeps a myth, thus there are no direct solutions to cure SIDS totally. However, we can still take some positive actions on reducing the rate. Getting baby into a good sleeping habit is the best way to prevent SIDS, make sure his airway is always unblocked during sleep. Plus, never smoke around the baby.
Cope and Support on SIDS
Losing a baby is a fatal sadness for each mom. For every year, there are thousands of moms fail to walk through the shadow and led a pathetic life. If, unfortunately, your baby is lost in SIDS, here are some positive actions you can take.
Never block yourself in a black room.
Open up your mind and try to communicate with others. All your friend and your family members are waiting full time talking to you. Love what can be loved now!
It takes time to heal.
Give yourself a limited time to digest the sadness, for it is not that easy to heal the scan. But it is nonsense to spend your whole life for mourning. Keeping a positive lifestyle and living condition is the biggest relief to the dead.
Divert your attention helps you relieve the pain.
If you decide to let it go, then you can divert your attention to something else, like painting, flowering, or some others that are on your hobby.