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SIDS made simple

Nov. 6, 2013|849 views
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After losing my son Marco I was terrified of anything happening to my new born Luca, now 8 months old. Although Marco was 2 when he died the fear of an accident, any accident at all is still terrifying.

My initial fear was about SIDS, having a baby is simultaneously one of life’s biggest challenges, and most rewarding achievements. For new parents it can be fun, exciting, exasperating, difficult, tiring, exhilirating and terrifying—often all at the same time. If you aren’t a parent yet, the first year of life is an adventure that will change you in ways you cannot imagine beforehand. It should be a time of joy—marked by more than a little sleep deprivation.

Until the early 1990s, having a newborn meant that you stood a significant chance of discovering that your child had died in her crib before her first birthday; suddenly, unexpectedly and inexplicably. Called Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), this awful event struck unsuspecting families at an alarming rate. But vigilant experts noticed a pattern to the deaths, and launched a campaign to reduce some of the known risk factors for SIDS. For the most part, they involve recommendations about the sleep environment.

In a conversation with Taran, one of Luca’s nurses I asked her if she could explain SIDS to me in layman terms so I understood it enough to lose some of my fears since I was following all the recommendations but still woke up at night to make sure my baby was still breathing.

Taran explained that babies are supposed to be born with an alarm that signals them to wake up if they are unable to breath. However, there is a percentage of children that are born without the system that signals them to wake up even if they can’t breathe. Apparently, these are the babies more likely to suffer SIDS.

Because there is no test that can evaluate which children lack this indicator, experts have set a must follow list for all parents regardless. The first rule: Infants should be laid to rest on their backs, not their bellies. Babies don’t sleep as deep on their backs, specialists suggest that laying them on their backs makes it easier for them to wake up in the event of trouble. They should also sleep in an unadorned crib with a fitted sheet. And nothing else. No stuffed animals, no frilly pillows, not even bedrail bumpers; nothing. And parents should never sleep in the same bed as newborns, lest they unintentionally roll over and suffocate the child.

These and other recommendations have made a huge difference in SIDS rates around the country. According to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rates have been slashed by half since the early 1990s, when SIDS-prevention efforts began in earnest. For more information about preventing SIDS,

Hope this information helps you sleep better at night, if you are a parent to a new born do you worry about SIDS? Like this post and share it with you friends if you found it to be interesting
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Colson ER, Willinger M, Rybin D, Heeren T, Smith LA, Lister G, Corwin MJ. Trends and Factors Associated With Infant Bed Sharing, 1993-2010: The National Infant Sleep Position Study. JAMA Pediatr. 2013 Sep 30. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.2560. [Epub ahead of print]

Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (2013, October 29). National rates of SIDS reduced 50 percent. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2013, from¬//releases/2013/10/131029133128.htm

Tags:  pregnancy, health tips