Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants below age 1. Also known as cot or crib death, infants usually show no signs of suffering before they die.
While the exact cause of SIDS is unknown, Dr Kenny Peter Pang, an ear, nose and throat consultant at Asia Sleep Centre, points out, “It requires a combination of factors including an environmental stressor. Such environmental stressors include infants sleeping on their stomach or side, overheating and exposure to nicotine smoke.
Accidental suffocation from sharing the bed with the child or from soft objects placed next to your child may also play a role.”
To reduce the risk of SIDS:
1. Put your baby to sleep on his back.
2. Let him sleep on a separate and firm mattress placed near the caregiver (if baby is not in his own cot).
3. Ensure no loose bedding such as pillows, bolsters and blankets surrounds baby.
4. Make sure the sleeping environment is relatively cool.
5. Don’t let your baby sleep for extended periods in a car seat, swing, stroller, bouncy seat, infant carrier or sling. This is especially important if your baby is below 4 months old as he may suffocate if his heads rolls too far forward. Transfer your baby to a crib or cot as soon as he falls asleep in such a seat.
6. Don’t expose your baby to tobacco smoke.
7. Give baby a pacifier ― some medical professionals believe that sucking one helps overcome any developmental deficiencies in the child; others believe that a child cannot lay flat on his face if a pacifier is in his mouth.
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When you lose a baby to SIDS…
It’s critical to get emotional support if you have lost your baby to SIDS as you may experience both guilt and grief at once. Where possible, let your friends and family know how you are feeling. If this loss is affecting your marriage greatly, you and your spouse may need to seek counselling.
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