New Baby? Have You Heard About Sudden Infant Death Syndrome?

Editorial Team

Now that you have brought your newborn home, it is important for you to know all that you can about keeping your child safe.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden and unexplained death of a baby less than 1 year of age that cannot be explained after a thorough investigation is conducted.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants aged 1–12 months, and is the third leading cause overall of infant mortality in the United States.

While there are no prevalent statistics for the death rate for SIDS in Nigeria, it does happen. Luckily, there are steps that parents and parents to be can take to help reduce the chance of this tragedy occurring.

  • Parents to be Attend your prenatal clinic

Medical care early in pregnancy, preferably within the first three months, and subsequent months can help reduce the risk of premature birth, a major risk factor for SIDS.

  • Avoid smoking or drug use during pregnancy

Do not smoke or use drugs during pregnancy as this can increase a newborn's risk for SIDS.

  • Parents Breast feed your child

Research has shown that any amount of breastfeeding can reduce the risk of SIDS.

  • 'Back to sleep'

Always place your baby on their back to sleep, rather than on the stomach or side. Don't assume that your child's caregivers will place your baby to sleep in the correct position- tell them!

  • Choose where your child will sleep

Use a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in good condition. Don't use loose bedding, use a fitted sheet and avoid too many blankets as these may interfere with breathing if your baby's face presses against them. For safety reasons, leave pillows, fluffy toys or stuffed animals out of your infant's crib.

  • Don't overheat baby

Sometimes we tend to dress our babies in to many layers. If you have to keep your baby warm, try a sleep suit or other sleep clothing that will not require additional covering. If you are using a blanket, make it lightweight. Tuck the blanket securely at the foot of the crib or under your child, with just enough length to cover your baby's shoulders. Do not cover your baby's head.

  • Baby should sleep alone

While experts advocate that your baby should sleep alone. Place your baby to sleep in a separate cot or Moses basket in the same room as you for the first 6 months.

Some parents are not able to or don't have alternative sleeping arrangements for their newborns. If this is the case, you need to be extra careful to make sure you or your spouse will not suffocate your infant by accidentally rolling over on him/her.

Experts especially recommend that you don’t sleep in the same bed as your baby if you smoke, drink or take drugs or are extremely tired and if your baby was born prematurely or was of low birth-weight.

Sleeping on a sofa/setee or in a chair with your baby is a 'no no' as unfortunate accidents have been known to happen this way.

  • Offer a pacifier

Using pacifiers can be a controversial topic amongst Nigerians. While some claim pacifiers make a child 'dull', experts have sugested that sucking on a pacifier at naptime and bedtime may reduce the risk of SIDS.

Are you aware of SIDS? If so what do you know about it?