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10 Tips For Preventing SIDS

10 Tips for Preventing SIDS

SIDS stories, in which babies die mysteriously while asleep give many a new parent nightmares. But there are steps you can take to create the safest possible sleeping environment for your baby — and to help yourself rest at ease. Here we've rounded up the key sleep recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics for preventing SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and other sleep-related infant deaths.

1. Back Sleeping

Babies up to 12 months old should sleep on their backs. However, if your baby is able to roll from tummy to back and back to tummy, he can be left on his tummy if he rolls over in his sleep.

2. Firm Sleep Surface

Babies should sleep on a firm sleeping surface – never a chair, sofa, cushion, or water bed. Cover a crib mattress with a fitted sheet, and don't use a crib with drop-side rails (see also: 5 Drop-Side Crib Alternatives). When babies fall asleep in a stroller, car seat, swing, or carrier, the AAP recommends moving them to a firm sleep surface ASAP.


3. No Soft Bedding or Objects

"Pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, bumper pads, and stuffed toys can cause your baby to suffocate," explains the AAP. After 12 months of age, however, "these objects pose little risk to healthy babies." See also When to Give Baby a Pillow

4. Room-Sharing Without Bed-Sharing

Bed-sharing with your baby puts her at risk of SIDS, suffocation, and strangulation. As a result, the AAP recommends keeping your baby's crib or bassinet within an arm's reach of your bed. For more information on the co-sleeping debate, see 3 Reasons to Avoid Co-Sleeping and The Case for Co-Sleeping.

5. Avoid Overheating

Does your baby sweat in her sleep, or does her chest feel hot? She may be too warm. As a rule of thumb, the AAP suggests dressing your baby "in no more than one extra layer than you would wear."

6. Routine Immunizations

While immunizations have become a hot button issue in recent years, the AAP shares that "evidence suggests that immunizations may have a protective effect against SIDS."

7. Using a Pacifier

The AAP also recommends offering your child a pacifier at naps and bedtime, which has been shown to help reduce the risk of SIDS. Breastfeeding moms are advised to wait to offer a pacifier until breastfeeding is going well. See also Thumb vs. Pacifier: Which is Better for Your Baby?

8. Breastfeeding

Studies show that breastfeeding your baby can help reduce the risk of SIDS. (Related: 5 Tips for Breastfeeding Moms for Getting Your Baby to Sleep Without Nursing.)

9. Avoid Smoke Exposure

Keep your baby away from smoke and people who smoke. If you smoke, keep your car and home smoke-free, and of course, try to quit.

10. Do Not Use Products that Claim to Prevent SIDS

This recommendation may surprise you, but the AAP advises parents not to use wedges, positioners, special mattresses, and specialized sleep surfaces that claim to reduce the risk of SIDs. Not only have these products not been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS, but some infants have also suffocated while using them.

Join The Conversation
CoMMember13630378733854 CoMMember13630378733854 3 years
Wow! I never knew using a pacifier was a way to prevent cot death. I wasn't going to use them because I worried that the baby would develop an unhealthy need to put things in his mouth, but I sure will now!
TabithaBrown14275 TabithaBrown14275 4 years
These are great ways to reduce your risk factor...but should NOT be labeled as ways to 'prevent' SIDS. Nothing can prevent SIDS. It can and will strike at any given time.
MishkaRyan MishkaRyan 5 years
SIDS is a death that is UNEXPLAINED! if they knew what caused it then they would know how to look for warning signs etc. even that breathing monitor dont help as the alarm sounds but the babies still die. all these factors are risk factors and not proven in anyway preventable. CAUSE OF DEATH IS SIDS NOT SUFFOCATION NOT VACCINES NOT TUMMY SLEEPING ETC its mean that the medical professional EXCLUDES all causes thus leaving it Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or Sudden Unexplained Infancy Death!
CarrieBansley CarrieBansley 5 years
There is NO known way of preventing SIDS! It is a HORRIBLE thing that happens! My son, Anderson, died of SIDS almost 5 years ago and all the "precautions" were taken with him.
HeidiCordova HeidiCordova 5 years
I was shocked when I saw they suggest that vaccines may redice the risk of SIDS . There have been studies to the contrary. Japan has cut their SIDS deaths by more than 50% when they started waiting until children were over the age of 2 yr. to start any vaccinies . There has been studies done in Australia that have seen most infant deaths due to SIDS were with in weeks of a whooping cough vaccine. Make sure you do your own research.
LaurenKawaguchi LaurenKawaguchi 5 years
Vaccines CAUSE SIDS, not reduce the risk. Please read the product inserts BEFORE you vaccinate your baby. This article is skimpy on facts and some points are either redundant or contradictory. Breastfed babies should avoid pacifiers, for example...
GracesMommy GracesMommy 5 years
I meant to say "blanket" not "mattress" in reference to seeing baby's face smushed against a blanket during tummy time. I also meant "back to sleep" refers to the position parents LAY the baby in.
GracesMommy GracesMommy 5 years
Sleeping on the tummy is NOT safe until the baby can put his/herself onto the tummy without any help AND turn off the tummy without help. Otherwise the baby doesn't have sufficient head strength to prevent the head from being smushed into the mattress (just look at any baby under 3 months during tummy time and you'll see the baby's face smushed into the mattress at at least one point.) "Back to sleep" refers to the position parents may the baby in; once you're baby is strong enough to switch to alternate sleep positions without help it's okay & the parents don't need to constantly put baby back onto the back, which will actually disturb sleep. Just remember "back to lay; tummy to play." Also, the best crib is a "boring" crib, just a mattress & fitted crib sheet, and maybe the "breathable bumper" (which really does work; I held it up to my face to test and while my face for hot I could still breathe just fine). A crib is not a playpen and shouldn't be used as such; no mobile & no toys.
KimberlyShort99809 KimberlyShort99809 5 years
" the AAP shares that “evidence suggests that immunizations may have a protective effect against SIDS.” What the AAP needs to share with people is the truth. You will find SIDS as an adverse reaction on quite a few vaccine package inserts. I find it very disappointing that you haven't researched the validity of the AAP's statement before sharing it.
SheenaPhillipsGuyton SheenaPhillipsGuyton 5 years
That is a lie about the vaccinating reducing the risk of SIDS! I wouldn't believe that for a minute. They just try and throw that out about vaccines every chance they get.
BernadetteFinzel BernadetteFinzel 5 years
Soft bedding and objects placed in the infant's crib are the cause of suffocation. Babies are fine sleeping on their tummies as long as there is nothing to potentially obstruct their airways. Since the back to sleep movement educators have seen an increase in the number of kindergarten children unable to properly hold a pencil and use scissors. Let babies sleep in what ever position they are comfortable.
JoyGrams JoyGrams 5 years
I am sure to get flack for this but avoid vaccines if you want to avoid SIDS, it is a side affect of every infant vaccine given in the first year of life. Just read the inserts that come with the vaccine from your doctor or look up the vaccines on the brands website.
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