SIDS i.e. Sudden Infants Death Syndrome is the sudden and unexplained death of a baby below one year. It can be a horrible experience for a mother to find her baby dead in the crib or bed. Until late night her baby may not have suffered from any illness which could be blamed for the sudden death.
Most SIDS deaths are linked to sleep; hence it is generally referred to as ‘crib death’ or ‘cot death’. SIDS remains the topmost cause of death in babies who are more than one month old. Maximum cot deaths occur in babies between 2-6 months old and as the baby grows older the risk of cot death reduces.
The causes of cot deaths are not known to the mankind. And it shows no signs of affliction. Hence, it is better to avoid all the risk factors which could lead to cot death. Given below are some preventive measures on how to minimize the risk of cot death.
If you smoke during your pregnancy, it can increase the risk of cot death in your child. You should also stop smoking near your baby after birth. About two-thirds of the cot deaths can be prevented if the baby’s parents stop smoking. You must also avoid alcohol and drugs during pregnancy and get early and regular prenatal care.
As a mother, the best thing you can do to minimize the risk of cot death is to breastfeed your baby. SIDS occurrence has been found to be significantly lower in babies who are breastfed for minimum 4 months.
You should always put your baby to bed on his/her back. Back sleeping is the best sleeping position for your baby. You may be surprised as well as alarmed to know that the highest risk factor for cot death is none other than sleeping on stomach. You should use a firm mattress for your baby’s sleep and do not keep pillows, stuffed toys, blankets, or comforters near your baby.
You should put down your baby for daytime sleep in your own room. Pacifiers have been associated with lower risk of cot deaths. Hence during the first year, put your baby to sleep with a pacifier. Also, do not let your baby’s room get too warm during his/her sleep. If your baby suffers from GERD, you must follow your doctor’s suggestions on your baby’s sleep positions and feeding.