Enjoy your time with your baby, and know that you can do a few things to keep your baby safe. Following safe sleep guidelines can help prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and reduce other sleep-related risks. SIDS is the death of a baby younger than 1 year with no known cause.
Talk about these safety steps with your child care providers, family, friends, and anyone else who spends time with your baby. Explain in detail what you expect them to do. Do not assume that people who care for your baby know these guidelines.
SIDS is very rare.
In most cases, a parent or other caregiver puts the baby-who seems healthy-down to sleep and returns later to find that the baby has died. No one is at fault when a baby dies of SIDS. A SIDS death cannot be predicted, and in many cases it cannot be prevented.
Doctors do not know what causes SIDS. It seems to happen more often in premature and low-birth-weight babies. It also is seen more often in babies whose mothers did not get medical care during the pregnancy and in babies whose mothers smoke.
Do not smoke or let anyone else smoke in the house or around your baby. Exposure to smoke increases the risk of SIDS. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.
Breastfeeding your child may help prevent SIDS.
Be wary of products that are billed as helping prevent SIDS. Talk to your doctor before buying any product that claims to reduce SIDS risk.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
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