SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is every mother’s worst enemy. We all want to protect our babies as much as possible, and we hate situations in which doctors tell us “there’s nothing we can do.”
Our hearts scream, “Yes, there is!”
And moms of SIDS victims may wrestle even more than most. Since doctors usually dub a situation SIDS after ruling out other underlying causes, these mothers are left without answers.
Instead, they think, “Could I have prevented it? Is it my fault?”
If you are one of these mothers, you can’t know for sure. What you should know is that God still held your family in His hands, and He still loved you even in this tragic situation. We moms hurt for you, our spirits aching for your loss.
As part of Infant Loss Awareness Month, I do want to touch base with mothers who haven’t endured this trial, though. While you can’t totally prevent it, you can reduce your risk of SIDS by following a few guidelines.
1. Sleep position
The majority of SIDS cases happens when baby’s sleeping soundly, and researchers have seen 50% fewer cases since 1992. They attribute this dramatic drop to the American Academy of Pediatrics’s recommendation that babies should sleep on their backs. While many parents show concern for their babies choking, the AAP says there is no higher risk of choking in this position than in any other.
2. Room temperature
To keep babies from overheating, set your thermostat at a level that is comfortable for you in short sleeves. If you’re sweating or feeling stuffy, you can bet your baby is; and your baby can’t regulate his body temp as well as you can.
You can also check your baby’s comfort level by touching his ear. If it’s icey, hike the thermostat a few degrees, and vice versa if his ear is burning hot.
3. Loose objects
Keep loose objects out of baby’s crib, especially if they are soft. Babies might roll into a loose blanket or cover their faces with it during the night. If they’re still learning how to control their heads and bodies, they might have a hard time moving out of this position to breathe.
The AAP also recommends getting rid of those bumper pads. Young babies don’t move around enough for them to hurt themselves in the crib. And the pads just provide another breathing hazard.
4. Room sharing
Have you put off completing baby’s nursery? You could have more time to perfect it than you originally thought. The AAP and SIDS Foundation both recommend keeping baby in your room for awhile.
You’ll still want to do your research and make an informed choice about how long. Many researchers disagree on the length of time that is optimal. Since most SIDS cases happen in babies younger than a year, usually between 2-4 months, you don’t need to switch to the nursery for awhile. Longer is probably better.
This list only touches the basics; so I strongly urge you to read AAP guidelines and ask your pediatrician any questions. I hope to raise some awareness so that you never support Angels’ Mommies from experience.
And of course, trust God with any concerns you might have. He can protect your children like no other.
What about you? What steps have you taken to protect your children from SIDS?
by Sarah George