In recognition of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has aggregated on their website a wealth of information and resources on the topic for new parents and caregivers.
On the DHHS’s Maternal and Child Health page, parents will find links to the National SIDS Resource Center, the National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD), and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The various resources offer tips for creating a safe sleep environment for infants and for lifestyle choices that reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS, such as prohibiting smoking around your baby and providing plenty of ‘Tummy Time.’
The following is the NICHD’s top 10 ways to reduce the risk of SIDS, which is the leading cause of death in infants between one-month and one-year of age:
- Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night. According to the NICHD, the rate of SIDS in the United States has declined by more than 50 percent since the Back to Sleep campaign launched in 1994.
- Place your baby on a firm sleep surface.
- Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area.
- Do not allow smoking around your baby.
- Keep your baby’s sleep area close to, but separate from, where you and others sleep.
- Think about using a clean, dry pacifier when placing the infant down to sleep, but don’t force the baby to take it. If you are breastfeeding your baby, wait until your child is one-month-old, or breastfeeding is well established, before offering a pacifier.
- Do not let your baby overheat during sleep.
- Avoid products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS because most have not been tested for effectiveness or safety.
- Do not use home monitors to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Reduce the chance that flat spots will develop on your baby’s head: provide ‘Tummy Time’ when your baby is awake and someone is watching; and change the direction that your baby lies in the crib from one week to the next. Avoid too much time in car seats, carriers, and bouncers.
Also, be sure all baby’s caregivers are well informed about safe sleep for infants.
In addition to following these safety guidelines, breastfeeding has proven protective against SIDS, according to a study published by PEDIATRICS, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
‘This effect is stronger when breastfeeding is exclusive,’ the report said.
For more information about the benefits of breastfeeding and for breastfeeding support and resources, visit La Leche League International online.
To learn more about SIDS and prevention, visit the New Hampshire DHHS’s Maternal and Child Health page.