Despite intense medical research, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) remains one of the leading causes of infant mortality in the United States. At this point, healthcare providers are still promoting ways to reduce the likelihood of SIDS rather than ways to completely eliminate SIDS because we simply don’t completely understand it.
SIDS has several hallmarks:
– The death of an infant younger than 1 year old;
– The cause of death is undetermined, despite investigation/autopsy; and
– It typically occurs during sleep.
What can an adult do to lessen the possibility of SIDS? The steps are based on the three factors commonly found in SIDS.
First, infants are more vulnerable to SIDS due to factors such as premature birth and exposure to substances while in the womb. Consequently, expectant mothers should obtain prenatal care as soon as possible and should avoid smoking, drinking alcohol and taking unprescribed drugs while pregnant.
Secondly, while SIDS occurs during the first year of life, the greatest risk occurs when infants are younger than 6 months old. Consequently, infants’ caretakers should take special care, especially healthcare, especially during that critical 6 month period (and beyond, of course).
Third, the sleep environment, including sleeping on the side or stomach, soft bedding and the presence of secondary smoke all increase the risk of SIDS. Consequently, caretakers should ensure: that the infant sleeps on his/her back in its own bed; that the bedding is firm, without stuffed toys, blankets, comforters, pillows or sheepskin; and that there is no secondary smoke in the residence where the child is sleeping.
One program that is particularly dedicated to a safe sleep environment is “Safe Sleep,” formerly known as the “Back to Sleep” Campaign, briefly reviewed on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29sLucYtvpA
DO’S AND DON’TS
DO obtain prenatal care as soon as possible.
DON’T smoke, drink alcohol or take unprescribed drugs during pregnancy;
DO take special care, especially healthcare, especially during that critical 6 month period (and beyond, of course).
DO ensure that the infant sleeps on his/her back in its own bed.
DO provide bedding that is firm, without stuffed toys, blankets, comforters, pillows or sheepskin.
DON’T smoke or allow others to smoke in the residence where the child sleeps.
DO review “Safe Sleep,” formerly known as the “Back to Sleep” Campaign, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29sLucYtvpA
Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.