It’s been the message for decades…”Back to Sleep” and educating parents on safe sleeping habits for babies has been pushed by pediatricians and researchers and is important for preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Even with this education, every year 3,500 babies die from SIDS in the United States. Researchers don’t know the exact cause of SIDS, but they do know that the sleeping environment plays a key role.
In addition to placing babies to sleep on their backs, other safe practices include not having “soft-bedding” type items in the crib (bumper pads, pillows, stuffed animals, sleep positioners). Having a baby sleep in the bed with parents is also high risk.
A recent study showed that 14-33% of babies were put to sleep on the stomachs and 91% slept with the unsafe items listed above. These findings are concerning because they communicate that the safe sleeping methods are not getting through to new parents.
There are other things you can do in addition to the sleeping environment to lower your baby’s risk of SIDS:
- Don’t Smoke - Secondhand smoke around a baby increases its risk of SIDS
- Breastfeed - Breastfeeding your baby reduces the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%
- Keep your baby from overheating - Dress your baby in light, comfortable clothing for sleeping