SIDS: American Academy Of Pediatrics Releases New Guidelines To Prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

The American Academy of Pediatrics has released new guidelines for parents to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

SIDS claims the lives of nearly 3,500 babies each year in the U.S., but that number can be dropped tremendously if parents and grandparents follow the guidelines, which have been researched and deemed effective by the AAP.

SIDS, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is a type of sudden unexpected infant death (SUID), which also includes unknown causes and accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed. The exact definition of SIDS, which has also been called “crib death” or “cot death,” is the “sudden death of an infant less than 1 year of age that cannot be explained after a thorough investigation is conducted, including a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and a review of the clinical history.”

SIDS is currently the leading cause of death for infants one month to 12 months of age, with most of those deaths occurring between one and four months of age, and 90 percent before the baby reaches six months old.

sids acronym
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, claims the lives of 3,500 babies each year in the U.S. [Secondary Image by g0d4ather/ Shutterstock]

During a recent interview with NPR, hosts David Greene and Renee Montagne spoke to Rachel Moon, who helped draft the latest guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics. One of the main ways to prevent SIDS is to always put babies to sleep on their back and never on their stomachs. However, there are other things, such as placing a baby on a firm surface to sleep such as a crib or bassinet, that can be detrimental in preventing sudden infant death syndrome. Moon is urging parents to have their infants sleep in the parent’s room, but not in the same bed, until the infant is at least 6-months-old.

“We do know that if a baby is in the same room and not on the same surface as a parent, that the risk of dying is halved compared to if the baby’s in a separate room,” Moon explained.

Although the cause of SIDS hasn’t been discovered, researchers and health care providers have discovered that the following actions can dramatically reduce the risk of SIDS.

  • Placing babies on their backs every time they go to sleep
  • Place the infant on a firm mattress with a fitted sheet
  • Keep loose bedding, pillows, and stuffed animals out of the crib or bassinet
  • Have the baby sleep in the same room, but not in the same bed, as the parents
  • Do not smoke during pregnancy
  • Do not smoke, or allow smoke, around your baby

In addition, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development provides additional precautionary measures parents should take to prevent sudden infant death syndrome.

  • Breastfeed your baby
  • Consider giving the baby a pacifier during naps and bedtime
  • Do not let your baby get too hot while he/she is sleeping
  • Follow the healthcare guidelines regarding vaccines and regular checkups
  • Do not use heart or breathing monitors in the home
  • Provide plenty of tummy time while the baby is awake
  • Avoid products that go against the safe sleeping guidelines, even if they claim to reduce SIDS

To find out more about SIDS, check out the short video below.

SIDS is a silent killer and can happen to babies that are seemingly healthy. Although there is no 100 percent full-proof method of preventing SIDS, following the precautions listed above can greatly reduce the risk of a baby dying from sudden infant death syndrome.

[Featured Image by Anna Grigorjeva/Shutterstock]