Safety Concerns for Baby While Sleeping

By: J.Morgan

Becoming a parent for the first time can be overwhelming, not matter how well prepared you may feel.  Once the baby arrives, everything changes.  You go through so many emotions and changes, but the most important thing is making sure the baby is healthy and safe.  Your home is baby-proofed, but what about the baby's crib? 

SIDS has become an every increasing worry for parents of newborns.  SIDS is something that can strike without warning in an otherwise seemingly healthy infant.  SIDS is usually the diagnoses for infant deaths when all other possibilities have been ruled out after a thorough investigation.  However, SIDS is not a simple case of the baby suffocating. 

There is no definite answer as to what actually causes SIDS, as there is new research done each year.  The occurrence of SIDS has reduced by 50% since 1983. There are a few things you can do to help reduce the risk of SIDS even more.

One of the most common words of advice is "Put your baby to sleep on their back".  Newborns should always sleep on their back on a firm mattress and tight fitting sheets.  Sleeping on their stomachs can cause problems such the baby breathing too much carbon dioxide back in with each breath.  Sleeping on their stomach increases the instances of sleep apnea as well. 

Parents buy all the cute bedding, have matching comforters, bumper pads and other things.  Unfortunately, these things may contribute to SIDS.  The bumper pads can reduce the flow of fresh oxygen into the crib.  Stuffed animals are also a danger in the crib.  If comforters get near the infant's face, it can cause the same rebreathing of carbon dioxide as if sleeping on the stomach.
Another thing to keep in mind is the proper amount of clothing during cold weather. The baby needs to be warm, but not overly warm, as this can also cause problems.  Since you shouldn't use a comforter, there are other options.  A warm sleeper that has feet and mittens attached are usually enough.  Another option is a sleep sack.  It is kind of like a sleeping bag with head and armholes.  It keeps the baby warm and safe.  They aren't able to squirm out of it, like they could a blanket.  Swaddling newborns is also a good alternative when done correctly.

While some infants are more susceptible to SIDS, such as those with low birth weight or exposure to second-hand smoke, it is important to take all the precautions you can to help prevent the heartache of losing a child to SIDS.

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