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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Over the past 10 years, the number of babies who die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome has dramatically declined – thanks to the nationwide “Back to Sleep” campaign. Yet many parents still don’t realize that how their babies sleep can be a matter of life and death.

Campaign celebrates 10 years of saving lives

Parents, spread the word – to babysitters, caregivers and family members – babies must sleep on their backs. And let them know it’s not a matter of personal preference. Putting babies ‘back to sleep’ saves lives.

Ten years ago, the National Institutes of Health launched the Back to Sleep campaign after research showed that babies who sleep on their backs are less likely to die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. Still, more than 2,500 babies a year die of SIDS, most of those deaths occurring during the fall and winter months.

“It can be difficult for parents to insist their babies sleep on their backs,” says Karen DeBord, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Child Development. “especially if their caregivers have a different opinion. But parents need to be very specific and insistent about how their babies sleep.

About SIDS

SIDS is an unexpected ailment that strikes otherwise healthy babies. Most deaths in babies between one month and one year of age.

While the cause of SIDS is unknown, medical researchers do know what parents can do to reduce the risk their baby dies of SIDS. Among them:

* Babies should always sleep on their backs - even for quick naps.
* Don’t smoke around a baby. Babies who are around smoke are more likely to die of SIDS.
* Don’t smoke if you’re pregnant.
* Place a baby on a firm mattress. The type of mattresses sold with safety-approved cribs are appropriate.
* Those stuffed animals are cute, but move them out of the crib when your baby sleeps. Ditto for soft, fluffy bedding and pillows.
* Keep blankets and other coverings away from a baby’s nose and mouth. * * Never put a blanket over a sleeping baby’s face.
* Don’t put too many layers of clothing or blankets on a baby. The baby will let you know when he or she feels cold.