Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) sometimes known as crib death is an unexplained death of a baby less than a year old normally during sleep in their crib. SIDS often happens unpredictably without a warning to a seemingly healthy baby. Although the cause is unknown, experts believe SIDS might be related to an immature arousal centre in the brain or simply put, infants can't wake themselves up when they are having breathing difficulty.
However, experts have gathered some measures that you can take to protect your baby from SIDS.
1. Never let your baby sleeps on the stomach
Place your baby to sleep on their back, rather than on the stomach or side, every time you or anyone put a baby of less than a year to sleep. This is not necessary when your baby is awake or able to roll both ways without assistance. Back-sleeping increases your baby's access to fresh air and makes them less likely to get overheated, which is another factor linked to SIDS. Hence, remember to advise babysitters or caregivers not to use the stomach position when calming an upset baby.
2. Keep the crib bare
Use a firm mattress and prevent from placing your baby on thick, fluffy padding such as lambskin or a thick quilt. Do not place pillows, soft toys or stuffed animals in the crib as they can suffocate or interfere with breathing if your baby's face is pressed against them.
3. Do not overheat your baby
Keep your baby warm by using a sleep sack or suit or other sleep clothing that doesn't require an additional cover. Keep your baby's head clear and uncover.
4. Share your room with your baby
Ideally, your baby should sleep in the room with you, but alone in their own crib or bassinet, for at least six months and if possible, up to a year. Sharing adult beds put your baby at risk of suffocation if a sleeping parent rolls over and accidentally cover the baby's nose and mouth. Your baby can get suffocated if they become trapped between the space of the mattress and a wall, the headboard slats or the space between the mattress and the bed frame.
5. Give your baby a pacifier
Sucking on a binky actually reduce the risk of SIDS. Experts believe that it may be due to the opening of the airway when the baby brings their tongue forward. Be sure there is no strap or string attached to the pacifier to avoid strangulation, suffocation, and choking. It is recommended to consider giving your baby a pacifier at night and for naps during the first year. However, if you are breastfeeding, wait to offer a pacifier until your baby is 3-4 weeks old and you have established a nursing routine.