January 23, 2017
Safe Sleep Environments
SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome is a tragic condition where an infant dies during sleep. The textbook definition is: sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a seemingly healthy baby less than a year old. We have learned over the years that a subset of these deaths are preventable. Study after study has assessed the risks of different activities as they relate to SIDS.
A few known risk factors include premature birth age, twins or multiples, recent upper or lower respiratory viral infection and poor maternal health including substance use.
A safe sleep environment is a prerequisite for long life of an infant by mitigating these controllable SIDS risk factors. The task force of the American Academy of Pediatrics has compiled a list of scientifically based recommendations for parents of infants to follow to reduce the risk of tragic death.
1) John Kattwinkel's "back to sleep" program is priority number one. Since 1992, babies that are placed on their back to sleep have a 53% reduced risk of death which translates into over 3000 less deaths per year!
2) Infants should sleep on a hard surface
3) Breastfeed if possible please! Breastfeeding reduces SIDS another 50%
4) Babies should sleep in the same room but not the same bed as their parents until age 1 year old
5) Keep all soft objects and loose bedding out of the bed environment
6) Avoid head covering and excessively warm clothing
7) Avoid smoke or smoke dust in the infant's environment
8) Avoid exposure to alcohol, cigarettes and drugs during pregnancy. That is a no brainer that unfortunately happens far too often
9) Avoid the use of respiratory monitors or SIDS devices as they offer no proven benefit
10) Maintaining good maternal health pre and postnatally is tied to a good outcome. Following a pre and post-partum plan for health as outlined by her provider is key. A healthy plant based diet free of chemicals is a great start.