The unexplained, sudden death of an infant is one of the most devastating things that could ever happen to a family.
But what could make such a tragedy even worse is the realization that it might have been prevented.
Sadly, that may be the case in some instances of SIDS—sudden infant death syndrome.
How “back to sleep” can save your child’s life
According to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, some parents still aren’t taking the one simple precaution that could save their precious infant’s life. They don’t put their baby “back to sleep.”
What that phrase means, of course, is to remember to ALWAYS put your baby to sleep on his back, not on his side or stomach for the first year of his life.
In past studies researchers simply asked parents how they were putting their baby’s to sleep. But the new study took things one step further to assure they were working with accurate data.
The scientists used actual video surveillance of babies done with the cooperation of 160 families. The footage was recorded on three different nights when the babies were a month, three months and six months old.
Risky sleep positioning puts your baby in SIDS danger
And what the video revealed was that while most moms and dads were putting their babies to sleep on their backs at a month old, as recommended, by six months fully a third were allowed to sleep on their bellies or sides. The video also showed that month-old infants were often moved during the night, usually to parents’ beds, which can put them at additional risk.
But that wasn’t all.
Over 90 percent of the parents who were monitored allowed risky items inside their infants’ cribs, such as…
- soft or loose bedding,
- stuffed animals,
- and so-called “bumper pads.”
While any of those items could spell a SIDS disaster that last one is particularly troubling since a study blamed those bumper pads for more than two dozen baby deaths over a seven-year period ending in 2012.
While they’ve been banned in locales like Chicago and the state of Maryland, you can easily buy bumper pads online and at many major retailers.
Set baby’s bed up right to keep him safe
The optimal crib setup should consist of a new crib (or if a hand-me-down, make sure to check for loose parts and any recalls), a firm mattress that fits snugly, with room for no more than two fingers between the mattress and crib, and a sheet that fits securely and won’t slip at night.
And, of course, no bumper pads, stuffed toys, blankets or pillows.
Jenny Thompson is the Director of the Health Sciences Institute and editor of the HSI e-Alert. Through HSI, she and her team uncover important health information and expose ridiculous health misinformation, most notably through the HSI e-Alert.
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