Despite all of the media attention this subject receives, many parents don’t heed the warnings by organizations like The American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Public Health Service when it comes to putting their babies in a safe sleep environment, whether they are co-sleeping with their child(ren) or putting them in a bassinett/crib to sleep. October marks Sudden Infant Death Awareness Month so now is the time to get educated or— if you know the facts, but have gotten a little complaisant—to remind yourself how important safe zzz’s are for your wee ones.
This information is splattered everywhere, but maybe the messages have bombarded parents for so long that there is a tendency to tune out. Well, listen up: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is real! Studies have shown that efforts by organizations and the Back to Sleep campaigns have made a difference, almost decreasing the statistics of deaths by half.
We also know that SIDS is not 100% preventable. So, even if we try everything that is recommended, our child may succumb to SIDS. One rule that always comes into question is whether or not you should put your baby on their back to sleep. There are different schools of thought on the subject. Some pediatricians recommend it and others say that studies have not proven that SIDS can be prevented by putting children to sleep on their back. I leave the choice up to you, the parent, and your pediatrician to make.
Here, however, are a few recommendations that should be no-brainers:
1) DO NOT SLEEP WITH YOUR BABY IF YOU’VE HAD MORE THAN ONE ALCOHOLIC DRINK. This should go without saying but it still happens.
2) REMOVE all pillows, blankets, stuffed animals and bumpers from your baby’s sleep area.
3) If your child is sleeping on a bed, please make sure your child cannot roll over and fall off the bed. Also make sure that the mattress is firm and there are no gaps where your child is placed to sleep—these are necessary precautions to prevent asphyxiation.