Pediatric Specialists of Plano

What parents should know about sudden infant death syndrome

Sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, is the sudden, unexplained death of an infant younger than one year of age. Pediatricians and researchers don’t know exactly what causes the condition, but they do know that practicing safe infant sleep basics reduces the risk of SIDS. Our Plano pediatricians strive to educate parents about the condition and teach them safe sleep practices.

Safe infant sleep basics reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome

SIDS is the leading cause of death for infants between the ages of one month and one year. Most deaths occur between one and four months of age. Parents can lessen their anxiety and reduce the risk of SIDS by learning and practicing the safe infant sleep basics listed below.

  • Place babies on their backs on a firm surface any time they are sleeping or napping.
  • Bedding, crib bumpers, soft toys or pillows in the baby’s sleep area aren’t safe. Safety-approved mattresses only need a fitted sheet.
  • Babies need to sleep alone to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. They can sleep nearby in a safe, separate sleeping area, such as a crib or a bassinet.
  • Parents and caregivers should not allow babies to get overheated.

Infants do need tummy time, but only when they are awake and fully supervised. Tummy time is important for an infant’s development, but it is never a safe idea for sleeping.

Other steps parents can take to reduce the risk of SIDS

Both parents can practice safe infant sleep basics, and they can also take other steps to reduce a baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

  • Regular prenatal care helps reduce a baby’s risk of SIDS.
  • Breastfed babies have a lower risk than those who never nurse.
  • During pregnancy and after birth, it’s vital to not expose a baby to second-hand smoke.

Our Plano pediatricians also believe it’s important to debunk myths about this condition.

  • SIDS is NOT contagious in any way.
  • Babies will NOT choke to death on their backs when they spit up or vomit.
  • Co-sleeping does NOT reduce the risk of SIDS. In fact, it increases the risk.
  • SIDS is NOT preventable, but safe infant sleep basics reduce the risk.

Talk to our pediatricians about SIDS

Parents should ask our Plano pediatricians any questions they have about SIDS and safe infant sleep basics. Our caring physicians are always happy to help parents learn the best ways to care for their babies. Contact us for an appointment.

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