October is SIDS Awareness Month
SIDS stands for sudden infant death syndrome, the sudden and unexplained death of a baby under the age of 1 year.
Because many SIDS babies are found in their cribs, some people called it “crib death,” but cribs do not cause SIDS. Health care professionals do not know what causes SIDS, but they do know that SIDS is the leading cause of death in babies under one month of age. More SIDS deaths occur in colder months, and babies placed to sleep on their stomachs are much more likely to die of SIDS than babies placed on their backs to sleep.
There are several things that parents can do to lower the risk of SIDS, including:
— Place your baby on his or her back to sleep at nighttime and naptime, and be sure your baby’s caregiver does the same
— Your baby should sleep on a firm mattress, such as in a safety approved crib.
— Remove all fluffy and loose bedding from the sleep area. Take all pillows, toys, blankets and other soft items out of the crib.
— Make sure your baby’s head and face stay uncovered during sleep.
— Don’t smoke before or after the birth of your baby. Create a smoke-free zone around your baby and don’t allow anyone to smoke around your baby.
— Don’t let your baby overheat during sleep. Too many layers of clothing or blanket can overheat your baby
— Breastfeed your baby. A new review of recent research studies shows that infants who were breastfed were about 60 percent less likely to die from SIDS than infants who didn’t receive any breast milk. This protective effect increased the longer the baby was breastfed and if the baby was exclusively breastfed.
The health department also offers many different services for the health of your baby and family, including information and support for breastfeeding, well child and immunization exams for baby’s overall development and growth, smoking cessation programs and HANDS services for first time parents.
For more information call the Health Department at 744-4482 or visit the website at www.clarkhealthdept.org, or the agency’s page on Facebook.