Surely, you have been warned about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), a sudden, unexpected death of an otherwise healthy and normal baby during sleep. You know all too well that putting a less-than-a-year-old baby to sleep on his tummy could result to an unfortunate loss.
Another precaution in preventing SIDS is to keep baby's sleeping area clean. Remove all blankets, pillows, comforters and toys from your baby’s sleep area, as these could also put your baby at risk for suffocation.
“Babies who sleep on their tummies inhale less oxygen and exhale less carbon dioxide because their faces are so close to the bedding. It is also more difficult for them to move in that position. If they get buried under a blanket or a pillow, they cannot easily kick it off and their cries might get muffled, “explains Anna Lopez-Gabriel, M.D., head of the department of Pediatrics at Makati Medical Center and owner of MommyDepotOnline.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) already devoted a "Back to Sleep" campaign awareness program to against SIDS--and it has worked well to greatly decrease the number of infant deaths caused by it. However, a new study suggests that there are other ways to further prevent the instances of SIDS.
Dr. Richard Goldstein, author of the study and is part of the pediatric advanced care team at Boston Children's Hospital/Dana-Farber Cancer Center, says, "The 'Back to Sleep' campaign has been one of the most successful public health campaigns of our time. But the sleep environment is not the whole story,” he says,
According to the study published in the journal Pediatrics, there are other factors that affect a child’s risk for SIDS. One, some infants are predisposed to it. Babies born prematurely or exposed to smoking early or while still in the womb had higher SIDS risk, while infants who are breast-fed and those whose moms had consistent prenatal care are at relatively lower SIDS risk. Two, babies under six months old are more at risk, as they’re still learning proper head control compared to babies older than six months. And lastly, the sleeping environment, which we all know, thanks to the Campaign.
Evidently, the next logical step is improve prenatal and preemie care and educate and encourage more moms to breastfeed, among others. Still, researchers will be digging deeper into the underlying issues about what actually causes SIDS.
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For the time being, parents and parents-to-be should keep a watchful eye on the little ones. Be proactive (instead of simply being reactive) when it comes to our children's safety. Follow the guidelines on baby’s sleep environment. Continue to live healthy, and seek proper medical care when needed. AS parents, we don’t want to risk anything that will put our baby in harm’s way.
Sources: December 2, 2015. "Safe Sleeping Is Just 1 Part of Preventing SIDS" (livescience.com) December 2, 2015. "SIDS Risk: More Than 'Sleeping Environment' (webmd.com)