Among many other notable and worthy causes, October is the month designated for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness. The statistics on pregnancies that end in stillbirth, miscarriage or death before one year of age are staggering. One in four women has experienced this kind of loss.
ONE IN FOUR.
Helping Reduce the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Every person, regardless if you are the parent, grand parent, aunt/uncle or child care provider, that cares for an infant has daily opportunities to help reduce this staggering statistic in regards to sleep related deaths, both unexpected and accidental. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ risk recommendations have proven to reduce SIDS deaths and may prevent accidental sleep related deaths.
- Always place baby back to sleep for every sleep, naps and night time.
- Baby should always sleep in a safety approved crib with a firm mattress and tight fitting sheet only. Sitting devices, such as car seats, strollers, boppy pillows, swings, infant carriers and slings, are not intended for routine sleep.
- Breastfeeding is recommended.
- Share a room, not a bed with baby. It is recommended that baby sleeps in the parent’s room, close to the parent’s bed, but on a separate surface designed for baby, ideally for the first year of life, but at least for the first six months.
- Keep soft objects, loose bedding and unfitted sheets away from baby’s sleep area to reduce the risk of SIDS, suffocation, entrapment and strangulation.
- After breastfeeding has been established, consider offering a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
- Avoid smoke exposure during pregnancy and after birth.
- Avoid overheating baby. Keep baby warm by using a wearable garment instead of blankets. This keeps baby comfortable and keeps baby’s face uncovered at all times.
- Infants should be immunized in accordance with recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Avoid alcohol and illicit drug use during pregnancy and after birth or when caring for infants.
- Supervised awake tummy time is recommended to facilitate development and to minimize the development of positional plagiocephaly (flat spots on baby’s head).
To view the full text and a full listing of the AAP’s 19 Risk Reduction recommendations, click here.
Honoring all the Babies Gone Too Soon
You are invited to join in the International Wave of Light. On October 15th, families across the country will be lighting a candle in remembrance of a baby lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS or other infant death. The Wave of Light begins at 7 p.m. in each respective time zone and lasts for at least one hour. The purpose is to celebrate the life of their special baby while raising public awareness and recognition of pregnancy loss and infant death.
“What we have enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” -Helen Keller
Related links for safe sleep education and infant loss resources: