October is SIDS Awareness Month

Published 2:31 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2016

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bout 3,500 infants died suddenly and unexpectedly in 2014 in the United States. These deaths are called sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID). The most common types of SUID include:

— Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The sudden death of an infant less than 1 year old that cannot be explained after a thorough investigation that includes a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and a review of the medical history. About 1,500 infants died of SIDS in 2014. SIDS is the leading cause of death for infants aged 1 to 12 months.

— unknown cause

— the sudden death of an infant less than 1-year-old that remains undetermined because one or more parts of the investigation was not completed.

Safe to sleep

Centers for Disease Control is working with the National Institutes of Health in its Safe to Sleep campaign, formerly known as the Back to Sleep campaign. The Safe to Sleep campaign has outreach and education activities aimed at reducing infant death from SIDS and other sleep-related causes.

— Accidental Suffocation and Strangulation in Bed (ASSB)

The sudden death of an infant less than 1 year of age that can happen because of:

— Suffocation by soft bedding—for example, when a pillow or waterbed covers an infant’s nose and mouth.

— Overlay—when another person rolls on top of or against the infant.

— Wedging or entrapment—when an infant is wedged between two objects such as a mattress and wall, bed frame, or furniture.

— Strangulation—for example, when an infant’s head and neck get caught between crib railings.

Reducing the risk

Doctors and researchers don’t know the exact causes of SIDS. However, research shows that parents and caregivers can take the following actions to help reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death:

— Always place babies on their backs to sleep for every sleep. Don’t assume others will place your baby to sleep in the correct position — insist on it. Advise sitters and child care personnel not to resort to the stomach position to calm an upset baby.

— Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet.

— Have the baby share your room, not your bed. Your baby should not sleep in an adult bed, on a couch, or on a chair alone, with you, or with anyone else.

— Keep soft objects such as pillows and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area.

— Breastfeed. Research shows that any amount of breast-feeding reduces the risk of SIDS. The protective effect is strongest if your baby breast-feeds exclusively for the first six months of life. Our next Breastfeeding Class is at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at the Clark County Health Department. Park in the lower level parking lot. Call for details.

— Don’t overheat baby. To keep your baby warm, try a sleep sack or other sleep clothing that doesn’t require additional covers. If you use a blanket, make it lightweight. Tuck the blanket securely at the foot of the crib, with just enough length to cover your baby’s shoulders. Then place your baby in the crib, near the foot, covered loosely with the blanket. Don’t cover your baby’s head.

— Offer a pacifier. Sucking on a pacifier at naptime and bedtime may reduce the risk of SIDS. One caveat — if you’re breast-feeding, wait to offer a pacifier until your baby is 1 month old and you’ve settled into a comfortable nursing routine. If your baby’s not interested in the pacifier, try again later. If the pacifier falls out of your baby’s mouth while he or she is sleeping, don’t pop it back in.

— Do not smoke during pregnancy or around the baby because these are strong risk factors for SIDS. The risk of SIDS is even greater when a baby shares a bed with a smoker. To reduce risk, do not smoke during pregnancy, and do not smoke or allow smoking around your baby.

— The Clark County Health Department offers Freedom from Smoking, it is the premier smoking cessation program from the American Lung Association. It helps you develop a plan of action that leads to your quit day. You will also receive the support you need to remain smoke-free for life. Please call the Clark County Health Department at 744-4482 for more information.

When you lose your baby to SIDS, the emotional support of others is especially important. You may find it comforting to talk to other parents whose lives have been touched by SIDS. If so, your doctor may be able to recommend a support group in your area, or you can visit an online SIDS chat room. Talking to a trusted friend, counselor or member of the clergy may also be helpful.

Communicate

your feelings

If you can, keep an open line of communication with friends and family about how you’re feeling. People want to help, but they may not know how to approach you. The baby’s parents, especially, need to be as open as possible with one another. Losing a child can put a terrible strain on a marriage. Counseling may help some couples understand and express their feelings.

Allow time for healing

Finally, give yourself time to grieve. Don’t worry if you find yourself crying unexpectedly, if holidays and other celebratory times are especially difficult, or if you’re tired and drained much of the time. This is normal. You’re dealing with a devastating loss. Healing takes time.

Visit the Clark County Health Department website at www.clarkhealthdept.org. Find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @CCHealthDept.

Article Information taken from: www.cdc.govand www.mayoclinic.org

Article submitted by Cara O’Neill, MS, RD, LD.