Imagine yourself seated in a roomful of other parents. If asked whether you were secretly worried about your baby dying, would you nod or raise your hand? How about checking on your child before you go to sleep to make sure he’s still breathing? Do you do it once? Two times? More? Are you afraid to leave his room?
Talking and even thinking about death occurring in the same time frame as the miracle of birth can be overwhelming. Talking about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is especially difficult because, by definition, it involves the sudden, unexplained death of a child under the age of 12 months. That means the parents of roughly 2,000 babies in the U.S. will have absolutely no indication that anything was wrong with their child before their worlds instantly turn upside down.
Without belittling the fears associated with SIDS, the chance of it happening is small. Roughly 6 in 1000 infant deaths are categorized as SIDS each year. To put that into perspective, your chance of having twins is roughly 30 in 1000.
Better news yet, the number of U.S. infants who die before their first birthday continues to decline and is at a historic low, according to 2015 reports.
Nevertheless, I will bet that any parent who has lost a child to SIDS would encourage you to be well informed about the risks. One lost life is too many, even if we have no explanation for cause. Do talk about SIDS with your healthcare providers. Do ask questions. Do stay informed. Don’t stay silent.
Without a known cause for SIDS, the message to parents is to keep focusing on what you can control. Follow SIDS risk-reducing tips and guidelines. Get early prenatal care. Avoid tobacco smoke both during and after pregnancy. Create a safe sleeping environment for your baby.
Sleep Pea offers additional tips at https://sleeppeaconsulting.com/sleep-tips/sids-10-tips-to-reduce-the-risk/. Please help bring awareness to SIDS by sharing these tips with anyone you know currently caring for an infant.