Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), or ‘cot death’ is a sudden and unexplained death of a healthy baby.
Unsafe sleeping is one of the leading causes of SIDS. Despite all the warnings and public education campaigns about SIDS, it’s been found that many parents still do not adhere to safe-sleep recommendations for their babies.
A recent study from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) shows that far too many babies are sleeping in potentially dangerous positions. “Most parents, even when aware of being recorded, placed their infants in sleep environments with established risk factors.”
The researchers conducted video recordings of 167 babies at ages 1, 3, and 6 months, being put to bed in their family homes. They observed dangerous practices such as positioning infants on their sides or stomachs, bed-sharing, soft sleep surface, loose bedding , including loose blankets, stuffed animals, pillows, bumper pads, and sleep positioners.
It was also found that babies who were moved at some point in the middle of the night were most likely to be placed in even more dangerous positions, such as bed-sharing and sleeping on their sides or stomachs, at the second location.
Parents are urged to remember and follow the ABCs of safe sleep. A for Alone; without bed-sharing with family members, pets, or toys. B for Back; sleeping on the back is the safest position for infants under the age of 1, not on the side or on the stomach. C for Crib; a safety-approved crib with a firm mattress and fitted sheets is the safest place for a baby to sleep, in addition to a portable crib, play yard, or bassinet. Avoid using loose blankets, stuffed animals, pillows, bumper pads, or sleep positioners.
Tobacco use is also a risk factor for SIDS. Therefore, avoiding smoking or secondhand smoke during pregnancy can help reduce the risk of SIDS in infants.
Also, breastfeeding an infant for as long as possible can help to reduce the risk of SIDS. However, if a mother breastfeeds her baby in her bed, the baby should be returned to its crib when the mother wants to sleep.
So parents, are your babies sleeping safely?