Our thoughts are with every parent who has suffered a miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy, a still birth or the loss of a child. October 15 has been designated National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day and tonight at 7:00 PM families will light candles in memory all of the precious babies who have been lost during pregnancy or in infancy. Each of us has our own unique way to honor our loss. It may be a day for reflection, prayer or even joyful gratitude.
Education and support are also ways to respectfully share in this day of remembrance. As Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) remains the leading cause of death for babies one month to one year of age, claiming more than 2,300 lives each year, we would like to reach out to all families with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and First Candle for safer sleep practices.
- Don’t smoke or expose yourself to others’ smoke during pregnancy or after your baby is born. Maternal smoking during pregnancy has emerged as a major risk factor in almost every epidemiologic study of SIDS. Avoiding an infant’s exposure to second-hand smoke is advisable for numerous reasons, in addition to SIDS risk.
- Breastfeed your baby, if possible, through the first year of life.
- The safest place for your baby to sleep is in the room where you sleep. The crib or bassinet should be free from toys, soft bedding, sheepskins, blankets, pillows and bumpers. Baby’s crib (cradle or bassinet) should be certified for safety by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPNA). A firm crib mattress,covered by a sheet, is the recommended sleeping surface.
- Always place baby to sleep on their back during naps and at nighttime. Back to sleep, tummy for play!
- Consider offering a pacifier at nap time and bedtime. For breastfed infants,delay pacifier introduction until breastfeeding is firmly established.
- Make sure your baby doesn’t get overheated during sleep. Infants should be lightly clothed for sleep, and the bedroom temperature should be kept comfortable for a lightly clothed adult (61 – 67 degrees). Over bundling should be avoided,and the infant should not feel hot to the touch. Consider the swaddle or sleep sack to be the blanket layer.
- Avoid commercial devices and home monitors marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS. Although various devices have been developed to maintain sleep position or to reduce the risk of rebreathing, none have been tested sufficiently to show efficacy or safety.
- Talk about safe sleep practices with everyone who cares for your baby. About 1 in 5 SIDS deaths occurs while an infant is in the care of someone other than a parent. Many of these deaths occur when babies who are used to sleeping on their backs are then placed on their tummies by another caregiver. “Unaccustomed tummy sleeping” increases the risk of SIDS.
Share these suggestions with friends and family who may be expecting a child and with everyone who cares for your baby.