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Help Prevent Your Baby from SIDS

Caring for an infant is tedious work. As parents or caregivers, you work hard to keep your baby safe and healthy. But is danger always easy to detect? SIDS could be your infant’s silent killer.

What is SIDS?

SIDS stands for: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and is often referred to as, crib death. This typically occurs in children between the ages of one month to a year. There is not a known exact cause of SIDS, but there are factors that can increase the risk of death.

What causes this?

The risk of your infant dying from SIDS can be increased by your health habits during pregnancy and care for your infant after birth. You might think that placing your baby in a comfortable bed is best for a peaceful nap, but this could be one of the worst things for your baby. The chances of SIDS increase when they are surrounded by loose blankets or toys. This can also happen when the infant is sleeping in the same bed as their parent. These situations can easily cause your baby to suffocate.

Another possible cause is if your infant was born with a brain abnormality. The brain controls our breathing and sleep. This section of the brain in some infants does not work properly. If your infant was born prematurely, their brain could be underdeveloped. This too would mean that automatic functions, such as breathing, would not work properly.

A mother’s health contributes to the infant’s risk of SIDS. If you are under 20 years old; smoke; use drugs or alcohol or don’t follow proper prenatal procedure, your child has an increased risk of SIDS.

How can I prevent this?

There is no specific way to prevent SIDS, but there are precautions to help avoid this tragedy.

  • Breastfeed your infant until at least six months.
  • Remove loose, thick blankets and toys from your infant’s bed.
  • Using a pacifier when putting your infant to sleep, pacifier should not be reinserted after infant spits it out.
  • Put infant to sleep on his/her back.

I lost a child to SIDS. Where can I find help and support?

Death of a child is very traumatic. Communicating with your family, friends and doctor are a great way to cope. Express your feelings and allow time for healing.

At Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital, our highly trained professionals are available for you and your family.

Jeremiah Bwatwa, MD

Author of this Article

Dr. Jeremiah Bwatwa, MD, is a Board Certified Pediatrician at IU Health Ball Memorial Physicians-Pediatrics. For questions, concerns or to schedule an appointment, please call 765.288.1995 or visit iuhealth.org/ball-memorial.

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