Fortunately, thanks to all of that research, there are things that can be done to help minimize the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or more commonly known as SIDS.
Infant Death Syndrome, commonly known as SIDS, occurs when an infant who
appears to be healthy suddenly and unexpectedly dies. There has been an
extensive amount of research done on SIDS, and yet it is still unknown why it happens. Fortunately, thanks to all of
that research, there are things that can be done to help minimize the risk of
Susceptibility to SIDS
can happen to any infant, but research reveals that there are some babies that
are more likely than others to suffer from SIDS.
#1 Babies born premature
baby is considered to be premature if they are born before the mother hits 37
weeks in her pregnancy. Premature babies almost always require a longer
hospital stay and specialized care compared to babies that are born after the
These babies are often
more susceptible to illnesses and problems, and that includes having a
higher chance of SIDS.
#2 Babies born with low birth weight
babies, even if born after 37 weeks are born with a low birth weight. Low birth
weight is defined as the baby weighing
less than 2500 grams at birth. Studies show that there is a higher
incidence of SIDS among low birth weight babies.
#3 Babies Exposed to Smoke
Before and/or After Birth
a mother smokes during her pregnancy, her baby is considerably more likely to
die from SIDS. The sooner a smoker can stop smoking during pregnancy, the
higher the chance of a good outcome for the baby.
Exposure to smoke after birth
also increases the risk of SIDS so ideally, you should keep your baby away from smoke altogether.
#4 Male Babies
some reason, studies have shown that SIDS occurs more often in male babies than
in female babies. Approximately 60%
of SIDS deaths occur in baby boys.
How to reduce the risk of SIDS?
though research has yet to reveal the actual cause of SIDS, it has helped us to
discover ways to reduce the likelihood of SIDS.
#1 Avoid baby being exposed to smoke
chance of SIDS occurring goes up significantly when a baby is exposed to
tobacco smoke either during the mother’s pregnancy, after birth, or both.
Smoking during pregnancy has a ton of negative effects on both the health of
the mother as well as the health of the baby.
Increased chance of SIDS is
reason enough to quit smoking if you’re pregnant, but the many other problems
caused by smoking during pregnancy gives even more reason to quit. If you are
struggling to quit smoking during or even after pregnancy, contact your health care provider to get help quitting.
even allow baby to be in the same house as someone that is smoking as
second-hand and even third-hand smoke can be very dangerous.
#2 Breastfeed your baby
has been shown that infants who are breastfed are less likely than infants who
are not to die from SIDS.
This likely has to do with the fact that breastfed infants tend to arouse more
easily than infants that are not breastfed.It is assumed amongst
researchers that SIDS has something to do with babies’ ability to arouse
themselves from sleep.
On top of a reduced risk of SIDS, breastfeeding has tons
of other amazing benefits for both baby and mother. Of course, there are some
cases where breastfeeding is not an option, and that’s okay too.
Always just do
your best for your bub and for yourself.
#3 Put baby to sleep on their back
position in which a baby sleeps in can also affect their likeliness of SIDS. Putting your baby to sleep on their back is
the ideal position to decrease the risk of SIDS.
A baby that sleeps on
his/her stomach has a lower arousal rate and higher chance of SIDS.
your baby to sleep on their side is better than the stomach sleeping position
but still won’t reduce the risk of SIDS the way putting them to sleep on their
#4 Put your baby to sleep with
a dummy or pacifier
to sleep with a dummy also decreases the chance of SIDS for your little one.
Even if the dummy falls out of the baby’s mouth after they are asleep, it’s
still shown to help reduce the risk of SIDS that they fell asleep with it in
the first place. Something about the suckling
helps with the baby’s ability to arouse themselves.
Of course, where to dummy or not to dummy comes with it's pros and cons and is a separate discussion altogether!
#5 Keep your baby close by during sleep
shows that the rate of SIDS is lower in babies that sleep in a cot in the
parent’s room for at least the first 6
months of life. Keeping your baby close can provide you with peace of mind
and allow you to quickly respond to your baby’s needs.
You’re also more likely
to notice any potential problems if your baby is close to you.
#6 Prevent baby from overheating
parents, we want to make sure our bubs are nice and cozy, but sometimes we can go overboard. Overheating your
baby can increase their chance of SIDS so it’s important to keep your baby at
just the right temperature.
baby needs one layer more than an adult to be at a comfortable temperature.
So, if you’re comfy in just a light shirt, put your baby in a light shirt with
a light blanket. Swaddling your baby has many wonderful benefits, including
helping them sleep on their back which is ideal for reducing the risk of SIDS;
just make sure to dress your baby lightly before swaddling to prevent overheating.
If it’s particularly warm in the room, you could swaddle your baby
dressed in just their nappy to help prevent overheating.
#7 Make sure baby’s sleep surface is firm
important thing to remember when creating a safe sleep environment for your baby and attempting to reduce the
risk of SIDS is to make sure that your baby sleeps on a firm surface.
your baby should sleep in a cot with a
firm mattress that snugly fits in the cot without any gaps. If a baby’s
sleep surface is too soft, it not only increases the risk of SIDS, but also
increases the chance of suffocation.
You should also avoid having pillows or
excessive bedding in the cot with your baby.
How to cope with SIDS?
no matter what we do to try to avoid it, SIDS just happens. Losing a baby is
devastating no matter what the circumstances are, but the added frustration of
not knowing exactly why your baby died can make your loss even more unbearable.
Nothing will ever make losing your baby
okay, but there are some things that you can do to help you cope with the
#1 Never Blame Yourself
you lose a baby to SIDS, it can be hard to accept that you won’t ever know for
sure what happened. You may feel as though you could have or should have done
something to prevent your baby’s death.
important to not dwell on the “what ifs”. The best thing you can do for
yourself is to try to except that you just won’t be able to know for sure, and
that it’s not yours or anyone else’s fault.
#2 Consider Counseling
a baby is a major life changing event. It can negatively impact every aspect of
your life. It can be difficult to sort out and deal with all of your emotions
during this time. It can be a good idea to seek professional help.
Counseling will provide you with a safe
space to just let everything out and get expert advice on how to handle
your feelings. Consider bringing your spouse or partner along with you for the
They will be just as deeply affected by the loss and it is vital
that you keep communication open to ensure that your relationship is not
#3 Find a Support Group
losing a baby, to SIDS or otherwise, is not exactly a rare occurrence.
are plenty of other parents out there who are dealing with the loss of a child.
It can be hard to realize that, but it can also help you to feel like you aren’t alone.
Whether you go with
an online support group, or you find a local one, you’ll have the opportunity
to discuss your experience and feelings with others who understand where you’re
Enjoy Your Baby
knowing why SIDS happens but knowing that it could happen to you can be
terrifying, but it’s important to not
live in fear.
Many parents might be constantly worried and even suffer from
paranoia that something will happen to their sweet bub. You should never let
fear take away from the joy of your new baby though. It’s important to
understand risk factors and to do everything you can to help reduce the risk of
SIDS, but that’s all you can do.
constantly won’t help and can take away from your time with your baby. So,
do your best to reduce risks, but make sure that you are enjoying every moment
with your bub and don’t let yourself live in fear.
Welcome to Babyinfo – the ultimate pregnancy and newborn information guide. We are here to help you find all the pregnancy and baby info you need to make the most beautiful experience of your life even better.
Our team is comprised of an amazing mix of experienced mothers, recently pregnant women, and editors with tremendous medical knowledge in the fields of gynaecology and childbirth.
Think of us as your friendly advisors, here to give you honest, easy to understand and authentic information. We are here to be your support at this crucial time in your life, when you need it the most.
Note: This website is in no way meant to replace doctors, hospitals, or other healthcare providers that may be utilized by current mothers or mothers-to-be. All mothers are advised to see a doctor for medical advice and the appropriate care before, during, and after pregnancy.