Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) refers to the unexpected, unexplained death of a child less than 1 year old. SIDS is rare during the first month of life. It peaks at 2-4 months of age, then gradually decreases.
A baby that dies of SIDS typically appears healthy. The baby may have had a
or gastrointestinal infection in the 2 weeks prior to death. There usually are no warning signs that a baby is about to have SIDS.
Emergency medical personnel should be called as soon as the infant is discovered not breathing.
should be started right away. Seek medical care right away even if the baby starts breathing again. The cause of the incident should be fully evaluated. Families may need grief counseling after the death. Some parents find
There is no way to predict which infants will die of SIDS. Several actions may help you lower your child's chance of SIDS:
Get prenatal care early and regularly.
Do not smoke, drink alcohol, or use drugs while pregnant.
Babies less than 1 year old should sleep on their back. Do not allow a young baby to sleep on their stomach or side. However, many babies roll over after 6 months of age and do not require constant monitoring of sleep position. Ask your doctor for more information about positioning your baby for sleep.
Other factors that may help reduce SIDS risk include:
Provide a firm crib mattress.
Breastfeed your baby.
Do not place blankets, a comforter, pillow, or sheepskin under your baby.
Do not let your baby sleep on a waterbed.
Remove soft, stuffed toys and loose bedding from the sleep area.
Do not cover your baby's head or face.
Have your baby sleep in the same room as you do for at least the first 6 months, but ideally for the whole year. However, do not share your bed.
Practice skin-to-skin contact with your baby as soon as possible after birth.
Keep the bedroom at a comfortable temperature (68-72°F [20-22.2°C]).
Avoid overheating. Do not overdress your baby.
While your baby is awake, place him on his stomach so that he can move his body.
If you smoke, do not smoke in the house or around your baby. Ask your doctor about ways you can quit.
Be sure that your baby gets routine medical care, including the recommended vaccines.
Do not use cardiorespiratory monitors or other commercial devices that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS. There is no evidence that these devices are useful.
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