As a parent, you should make sure that your baby is going to sleep not only in a manner that is comfortable but also in a way that is safe. It is important to take note of the fact that unsafe sleep practices can compensate the health of your infant, and worst can lead to death. With such being said, it is of utmost importance to be knowledgeable of how it is possible to ensure safe sleep for infants.
What Is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Why is it important to make sure that infants will have a safe sleep? The answer is most probably SIDS. To put it simply, SIDS is an unexplained death of an infant, which is commonly experienced by an infant who is less than 12 months, although it is most common for those who are one to four months. It can happen without warning, even if your baby is healthy. Up to now, there have been countless studies to pinpoint its exact cause, with most pointing out to the abnormalities in the brain of the infant and hence, leading to breathing problems.
Be Informed and Know The Real Cause
As it has been mentioned, while there are numerous studies, the causes of SIDS are unclear. Nonetheless, it is important to keep in mind that immunizations, choking, and vomiting are not its causes.
Taking Care of Your Baby Before Birth
To minimize the risk of suffering from SIDS, it is important to have a healthy pregnancy. Having a regular checkup with a medical professional is critical. When you are healthy, the baby is also healthy, and hence, lessening the risk of dying from sleep. If you smoke, stop smoking from the time that you learn that you are pregnant. Second-hand smoke is also dangerous, so stay away from anyone who smokes. Drug use and alcoholism will also put the baby at high risk. Regular exercise, the ones that are perfect for pregnant women, should also be part of your daily routine. While these things may not conclusively eliminate the risk of suffering from SIDS, in one way or another, they will make the possibility minimal.
The Safest Place For Babies to Sleep
To promote a safe sleep for infant, it is important to make sure that they are sleeping in the right place. In this case, the best would be to sleep in the same room where you are, but not in the same bed where you are sleeping. By being in the same room, you can be more vigilant while the infant is sleeping. If the baby cried because of discomfort, you could immediately hear it, and you can be to the rescue in an instant.
Have a crib or a pack n play where the baby can sleep and make sure that this is accessible from your bed. It should be made from durable materials to ensure its stability, even if the baby moves. There should also be no toys, pillows, blankets, and other stuff that could lead to suffocation while sleeping.
Sleeping on the Tummy is Safe
While babies should have their own pack n plays or cribs, this does not mean that sleeping on your tummy should be avoided. In fact, as experts recommend, there should be a tummy time – a dedicated time of the day where the baby will sleep on your tummy. This will help in improving the neck and shoulder muscles of the infant. In the same way, this is vital regarding being able to reinforce the connection between the parent and the baby. If in case you are leaving your child to a caregiver, make sure to give specific instructions with regards to having tummy time.
Talk to People Who Take Care of your Child.
Regardless of how much you want to be hands-on in raising your child, such is impossible, especially if you work or if you manage a business. If in case you are hiring the services of a child care provider, or if you are asking for a helping hand from family or friends, make sure to talk to them before leaving your infant. Make sure to explain to them infant safe sleep practices, if in case they do not know such. Never leave your baby in the supervision of a person you know will be careless and inattentive.
The Importance of Back Sleep
To minimize the hazards of SIDS and to promote safe infant sleep, proper position is important. Side sleeping is not recommended. The best choice is to have them sleep on their backs. This sleeping position has been recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
About this, sleeping on their stomachs should be avoided because of the dangers that are associated with such, including the following:
- The upper airway can be obstructed, and hence, leading to breathing problems
- There is a risk of rebreathing the baby’s own exhaled breath, which can lead to the buildup of carbon dioxide and can also lead to low levels of oxygen
- It can lead to overheating as it can interfere with heat dissipation of the body
- It can cause a sudden decrease in blood pressure
Other Ways To Protect Your Baby
Aside from those that have been previously mentioned, the following are other effective ways of which it will be possible to help promote infant-safe sleep and reduce the risks of SIDS:
Make sure that the room is an ideal environment. This will make a more conducive sleeping environment and will lessen possible disruptions. The room should have a slightly cool temperature, free from noise, and dark.
Using sleepers as the clothes for sleeping babies will also be good. This will avoid the use of blankets to keep them warm, and hence, minimizing the risk of suffocation during sleep.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has also emphasized the importance of breastfeeding to minimize the possibility of SIDS.
Using a pacifier will also be helpful. Nonetheless, make sure that the pacifier does not have any cord as this can be a risk of being strangled. Also, if the baby resists the use of a pacifier, do not force it.
Immunization is also an important part of preventing SIDS. Make sure to talk to your doctor about what immunization will be necessary. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, having immunization will reduce SIDS risk by as much as 50%.
It is also important to have a regular checkup, especially if you are noticing that there are sleep disruptions often experienced by the infant. With regular checkup, you will be abreast of the health condition of your baby to avoid problems in the future.
Infant safe sleep is of utmost importance, especially for first-time parents who are somewhat clueless about how to take care of their baby. SIDS is a prevalent condition, but it can be easily avoided by following the things that have been mentioned above. Make sure to follow these tips and to spread the word so that other parents would know what they can do to make sure that their babies will sleep comfortably and safely. When they are safe in their sleep, you can sleep in peace as well.