SIDS and Shaken Baby Syndrome
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is one of the biggest fears amongst parents, causing normally sane individuals to randomly jolt out of bed and lean over the baby’s crib to check that he or she is still breathing. SIDS is the mysterious sudden death of infants under 12 months old. While there are theories and countless studies done on what exactly causes SIDS, experts have identified ways to reduce the risk:
- Until your baby can sufficiently roll, place the baby on his or her back to sleep at night and naptime. Many experts believe the SIDS risk is higher for tummy-sleepers not because of suffocation but because babies sleep better, more soundly, on their stomachs, meaning they might not wake up as easily if they experience sleep apnea. So don’t be surprised if your baby resists back sleeping for a bit – he or she should get used to it soon.
- The FDA recently recommended against using sleep positioners. If you need to elevate your baby for reflux reasons, put blankets under the mattress to raise it up a bit under your baby’s head instead.
- Make sure the crib mattress is firm and free of pillows, comforters or other fluffy, loose bedding.
- Have your baby wear sleeper blankets to bed, rather than cover him or her in a loose blanket. If you do need to use a blanket, make sure that it only goes from chest to ankles, and is tightly tucked into the mattress.
- Do not smoke anywhere near the baby – period.
- Keep the baby’s room between 61 and 67 degrees and don’t overbundle, as overheating can be dangerous. A sleeper blanket is all that’s needed.
- Consider using a pacifier during sleep time, but don’t force it if he or she won’t take one.
- Practice regular tummy time – the faster your baby gains head and neck strength, the better protected he or she is against SIDS.
Shaken Baby Syndrome:
This might seem obvious, especially in today’s day and age, but as every new parent will find, uncontrollable crying can make a parent go crazy. However, no matter how frustrated and exhausted you might be, never shake your baby.
Shaken Baby Syndrome is when your baby is forcibly shaken so hard that his or her brain can actually bleed from moving back and forth in the skull. This can cause:
- Difficulty or stopped breathing
- Seizures and vomiting
- Difficulty keeping eyes open/lifelessness
If you feel yourself about to lose it:
- Put your baby somewhere safe (in a crib) and walk away.
- Take a deep breath and count to 10.
- Ask someone else to come and take over.
- Do not pick up your baby again until you’ve calmed down.
If you or someone you know has violently shaken your baby, call 911 immediately. Don’t be ashamed or scared to take responsibility – your child’s life is on the line.