I can remember when my first of four sons was born how anxious I was each time I went to check on him in the crib. I knew about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) but, back in the mid-70’s, there was not anything known that would reduce the risk of an infant dying suddenly and unexpectedly. Even today, without a clear reason or known cause, SIDS remains the leading cause of death in infants between one month and one year of age.
In 1994, research gave us evidence that putting infants to sleep on their backs reduced the number of SIDS deaths. The “Back to Sleep” campaign has dropped the rate of SIDS deaths by 50%. This past year, the program was expanded to include new information on safe sleep practices for infants, the “Safe to Sleep” campaign. These 3 simple recommendations of the campaign will provide a safe sleep environment for your infant to further reduce the risk of death from SIDS and other sleep-related causes.
1. Always place baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night, to reduce the risk of SIDS.
2. Put baby to sleep in a separate sleep area in the same room where you sleep. If you bring baby into your bed to breastfeed, make sure to put him or her back into a separate sleep area, such as a safety-approved crib, bassinet, or portable play area when you are finished.
3. Use a firm sleep surface, covered by a fitted sheet, to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of death. Remove all loose bedding, soft objects and toys.
Please share this information with anyone caring for your infant and with other parents. This education will save infants’ lives. For more information on SIDS, visit www.nichd.nih.gov/SIDS
Jill Frost is the Interim Education Director at North Hills Hospital. She has been working in Women’s Services – both Labor & Delivery, and now childbirth education – for 33 years. In addition to delivering thousands of babies in the Northeast Tarrant County area, together Jill and her husband have 6 children and 7 grandchildren.