Preventing SIDS & Shaken-Baby Syndrome
SIDS is the sudden and unexplained death of an infant under 1 year of age. SIDS is sometimes called crib death because the death occurs when a baby is sleeping in a crib. It is the major cause of death in babies from 1 month to 1 year of age, occurring most often between 2 and 3 months of age. The death is sudden and unpredictable; in most cases, the baby seems healthy. Death occurs quickly, usually during a sleep time.
There currently is no way of predicting which babies will die from SIDS. However, there are a few measures parents can take to lower the risk of their baby dying from SIDS, including the following:
- Get prenatal care.
- Stop smoking.
- Put your baby on his or her back for sleep, even at naptime.
- Place baby on his or her stomach while awake and under supervision.
- Avoid using infant seats, car seats, strollers, infant carriers, and infant swings for routine sleep and daily naps.
- Use proper bedding.
- Avoid overheating.
- Share a room (not bed) with your baby.
- Avoid bed-sharing.
- Maintain a smoke-free environment.
- Get proper pediatric health care and immunizations.
- Breastfeed your baby.
- Use a home monitors for babies at risk.
- Offer pacifiers during sleep time.
Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
Babies cry. Sometimes it will seem like they are crying uncontrollably, but it is how they know to communicate with the world around them. Shaking a baby, even slightly, is very dangerous, causing a life-threatening condition called shaken baby syndrome. This can lead to major brain damage and death. When a baby won’t stop crying, it can be frustrating. The stress of caring for a baby, especially if your baby has been sick, puts a strain on the parents. But no matter how fed up, tired, or upset you are, you should NEVER shake your baby.
Why It’s a Problem
When a baby is shaken, the brain moves back and forth inside the skull. Even a little force could cause the brain to hit the inside of the skull. This can result in bleeding and swelling inside the skull. It can lead to permanent brain damage, coma, or death.
If You’re Frustrated
If you feel yourself getting fed up, here’s how to cope:
- Put the baby down in a safe place, even if she’s crying.
- Take a deep breath. Walk away. Count to 10. Do whatever else you need to do to calm down.
- Let others help you take care of the baby. Trade off with your partner, the baby’s grandparents, or other family members.
- Talk to your baby’s doctor about what’s causing the crying. There could be a health problem or other issue that’s making the baby cry more than normal. The doctor can also give you ideas for how to console the baby when she cries.
- If you’re feeling overwhelmed, talk to your baby’s doctor about childcare options, counseling, or other resources that can help.
- Call the Childhelp USA hotline at 800-422-4453. The trained operator can help you deal with your frustration, so you don’t hurt your baby.
- Talk to your doctor, or one of our lactation consultants at an appointment. You may be experiencing Postpartum Depression, a very serious – but treatable – condition.
Consider our Happiest Baby on the Block class, based on the best-selling book by Harvey Karp, MD. You will learn tactics that will help sooth your crying baby. New babies are such a blessing, but they can bring with them sleepless nights, crying, and sometimes quite a bit of stress. In our Happiest Baby classes new parents will learn step-by-step how to help their baby sleep better and how to soothe even the fussiest baby in minutes.