Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is parents’ worst nightmare. Unfortunately, as bad as it might be, it is still quite common, and some studies estimate that up to 3500 babies die in the USA alone each year from SIDS. There is still no known way that is 100% effective in preventing SIDS, but at least there are some easy things that parents can do to lower their baby’s risk. The measures include the following four.
#1 Sharing the Room with Your Infant
Research confirms that sleeping in the same room with your child can lower the risk of SIDS by up to 50%. By keeping your child’s crib near you, it will be easy for you to monitor him as he sleeps and you can also react faster to help him in case there is a problem.
However, you should not sleep in the same bed because one study from a few years ago unexpectedly showed that this can actually increase the risk of SIDS by 40%.
#2 Breastfeed for as Long as Possible
Somehow modern day moms prefer to raise their babies with formula and solid food with minimal breastfeeding if any at all. But this is a bad move, and this is more so if you want to reduce the SIDS risk. Studies show that babies that breastfeed for 6 to 12 months have a lower risk of this premature death. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that you should breastfeed exclusively for at least six months, but it is a good idea to continue doing it for some time even after introducing the infant to solid foods. In fact, a meta-analysis from 2011 shows that breastfeeding for any length (even a couple of months) cuts the risk of SIDS by half while doing it for between four and six months will reduce the risk by up to 70%.
#3 Always Put the Infant to Sleep on His Back
The rate of SIDS in the USA has reduced by an impressive 50% since 1994, and this is after the authorities launched the “Back to Sleep Campaign” which was to make sure that caregivers know that a baby should always sleep on his back. These statistics show the tremendous difference that the sleeping position can make. Other studies have also concluded that babies that sleep on their stomach have a SIDS risk increase of anything between 1.7 and 12.9 times.
#4 Immunize your Infant
There is enough evidence to prove that immunizing your child according to the recommendations by the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics will reduce the infant’s risk of SIDS by up to 50%. Some shots might not look important but the fact that experts recommend them means that your baby actually needs them. So, you should not skip even one of them if you want to keep your child safe.