Reduce the Risk of SIDS

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Working as a non-medical staff member at a children’s hospital has its perks as a parent. I have access to some of the top pediatric specialists, I can routinely turn to these specialists for advice about my kiddo, and it’s nice to know that if my child had to be in the hospital, there’s a good chance she would have someone who knows her mommy taking good care of her. But there is also a downside.

Too much knowledge can make you crazy.

I’m pretty sure this is what my husband thought when I was lecturing him (and everyone else) during my last few, hormonal months of pregnancy about the dangers of SIDS. You see, for about 6 years, I have worked with Rachel Moon, MD, one of the leading experts and researchers about SIDS. Dr. Moon tries to prevent SIDS and sudden unexplained infant death (known as SUID), but to do this, she has to research babies who have died, combing through reports from medical examiners, daycare providers, and distraught parents. I never wanted to be in that position.

So I was pretty adamant about how and where our baby would sleep.

On her back.

In a crib.

With nothing in the crib but the baby.

I never bought any bedding sets for the crib, because you had to buy the whole set with crib bumpers, which are a suffocation risk. And I was prepared when my mom told me that she had put my brother and me to sleep on our stomachs and we were fine (I cited the 50% reduction in SIDS deaths since the Back to Sleep campaign began).

But it still found it baffling how many of my friends didn’t follow the recommendations for safe infant sleep from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Many had bumpers, blankets, and stuffed animals in the cribs. Some let their babies sleep with them.

Dr. Moon’s latest research looks at information on infant sleep found through Google. Many sites promoted unsafe sleep environments. The research is consistent with a similar study Dr. Moon did a few years ago, showing that many magazines promoted unsafe infant sleeping. 

Dr. Moon says this type of misinformation is particularly harmful because so many people turn to the internet and mass media for credible information.

“If people see and read contradictory information, they are more likely to discredit it as unimportant or untrue,” explains Dr. Moon. So these unsafe guidelines and images are all the more damaging.

Bottom Line: there are some very clear, simple steps to take that can drastically reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS. Take a few minutes to review them and put them into practice. 

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Categories: Infants
Topics: Sleep
Authors: Emily Dammeyer

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