Important information in lowering your risk of SIDS.
Hi, and welcome back to first breaths to first steps. I am Bev Garrison. I’m here today to talk to you about sudden infant death syndrome. Just as a note and reminder that the information in this podcast is not to take the place of acute or chronic medical care. Or well-baby care from your pediatrician. If this conversation sparks more questions, please contact your primary care provider for further information. Sudden infant death syndrome also termed “crib or cot death.” It is one of the leading causes of infant death between the ages of one month to one year of age. On average. these babies being between the ages of two to four months.
So, what is the definition of SIDS it’s the death of a baby, less than a year with an unknown cause after thorough investigation. Usually occurs in the context of sleep. It’s been noted that about 3,400 babies in the U S die unexpectedly, to SIDS or accidental deaths from strangulation or suffocation.
The term sudden unexplained infant death is a larger umbrella that encompasses SIDS, accidental suffocation with sleep and deaths of unknown causes. Even though SUID has decreased since the 1990s, it’s still important to monitor this type of information in the pediatric world so that we can gain skills and make. recommendations and put procedures in place to decrease our risk. There is official sudden unexplained infant death monitoring in 22 states of the United States. The reason we do this is to help outline circumstances of these cases. And it also helps us to develop strategies. And more importantly, decrease future deaths. It will educate parents. Help train hospital, staff and personnel on safe sleep environments. And supports policies to help childcare facilities to apply safe sleep practices as well.
The American academy of pediatrics recently updated their policy because of the evidence supporting that there were certain things that we could do to help decrease our risk. Including skin to skin contact in newborn infants. The use of bedside sleepers. And recommendations for safe sleep environment.
Let’s talk about most importantly recommendations to help decrease our risk for SIDS. The first is putting babies to sleep on their back. Sometimes you’ll hear it’s okay to place them on their side, but this allows them to easily roll on to their face and that poses the problem. The reason that you want to put them on the back is the anatomy of the baby’s airway and their gag reflex will protect. When they’re sleeping on their stomachs, their faces can become obstructed by bedding and they may not have the next strength to clear their face. Babies on their back and definitely have a much less likely risk of SIDS.
It was also noted that newborn should be placed skin to skin. As soon as possible after delivery for at least an hour. This helped to decrease the risk of SIDS.
If a baby is rolling efficiently, a lot of times people ask they’re going front to back or back to front. There is no need to go back and turn them back on their back, but it’s definitely a good reminder, to all parents to confirm that there are no blankets pillows, bumpers, stuffed toys, anything that’s softer plush in the crib, especially once your baby is rolling efficiently. Also recommended that if your baby falls asleep in a car seat, swing, stroller, carrier, or infant sling, wearing type mechanism. That they should be removed from those and placed on a firm surface.
When we’re talking about a firm surface, we’re talking about in the setting of being in a crib. A separate bassinet a separate, portable crib. Or an approved play yard. There are safety standards that are set by the consumer product safety commission. They go through and look at all those products and make sure that they are safe.
Firmness, definitely want to make sure that the mattress is firm, it’s well-fitted for the space mentioned above. And that there is only a fitted sheet that was made for that mattress. You want nothing loose in the crib blankets pillows, comforters. If you’re worried about the temperature of your baby, dress them in their pajamas and then place a wearable blanket on top. Typically these wearable blankets allow for baby’s arms to come through and they are zipped up or closed and therefore will not come up around the head and turbine or cause any obstruction at the face.
Parents will ask about co-sleeping. But it’s only recommended in your bed for feeding or if you’re soothing, all sleep should be for your infant in an independent, safe sleep environment. No bed sharing. It is recommended that babies are in your room at night. Especially the first six months. And if possible all the way up to 12 months, that can reduce the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%. You don’t want to allow your baby or encourage your baby to get in the habit of falling asleep on a nursing pillow. Or a pillow type pad. Even if they’re not rolling, if they turn their head to the side, there’s soft padding that may cover their face and. Cause suffocation. If propped up on these pillows, the head may come forward also closing the airway.
What about swaddles? Swaddles are okay. You just want to make sure that they’re not too tight. They don’t affect your baby’s ability to breathe. And they also do not affect your baby’s ability to use their hips. If your baby is rolling and rolling efficiently, you really want to stop using the swaddle. Because they’ll need to get their hands out to be able to support the upper part of their chest.
What about pacifiers? Pacifiers at sleep actually have been shown to decrease the risk of SIDS. It’s recommended offering anywhere after two to four weeks of successful breastfeeding, just so that there isn’t any nipple confusion. With pacifiers, you do want to make sure that there’s no strings attached to them. They are not attached to any sort of blanket or toy. And that they are not attached to the bed itself.
Overall, what can be done prenatally and after delivery? No one in the household, including moms smoke around the baby. No use of alcohol or drugs. In mom or the household. Breastfeeding may decrease the risk of SIDS. So we highly encourage that. Going to all well Care visits for your baby. It has been shown in some recent data that immunizations may reduce the risk of SIDS. And so it’s important to get with your primary care provider and discuss these. And lastly observed tummy time daily. This is supervised when baby is awake, but it also helps to increase that strength of their upper body.
Special positioners, mattresses, surfaces that have not been approved, have no proven information or data that they decrease the risk of SIDS. And therefore there really isn’t a statement that says, yes, they’re approved or no, they’re not. Would not recommend relying on monitoring systems that look at pulse oximetry or movement. A lot of times, these can be inaccurate. Or they don’t fit baby well, and so you’re not getting good data about what’s going on with their body. There’s also no information on ” in bed sleepers.” As to whether or not those have an effect on the risk of SIDS. Again, they are not necessarily recommended one way or another.
There is a great, safe to sleep, interactive sleep tool on the NIH website. If you’d look that up, it does show you a room and you click on certain parts of the room and it discusses all of these things that we just discussed about what’S safe in the room. What’s not safe in the room and what recommendations. It is an interactive tool and allows you to see what areas are focused on for reduction of SIDS.
Unfortunately, we can’t deny the statistics about sudden infant death syndrome. Sudden unexplained, infant death in the United States. And therefore makes us aware and in need of understanding safe sleep environment.
The take home message in this situation is to make sure that you have a firmer mattress that’s well-fitted with only a fitted sheet that is made for that mattress. That you are putting your baby down in an independent, safe sleep space. And that you are doing things prenatally as well as after delivery that can help decrease the risk of SIDS. Including: breastfeeding skin to skin contact. Not tolerating smoke in baby’s environment. No drug or alcohol use by mom or household contacts. And lastly, thinking about keeping baby in parent’s room for the first six, if not 12 months.
I hope you found the information in this podcast helpful. If you would like a copy of the episode transcript, you can click the link below. Also, if you’re interested in working with me from first breaths to first steps and coaching you and your new baby in the first year of life. You can also get ahold of me at BEVGARRISON.COM. Until next time be well.