Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the #1 cause of death for healthy infants under the age of one inCanada. What is SIDS and what causes it? SIDS is the term given for the sudden and unexpected death of what seemed to be a healthy baby and for which no cause can be found. Although research is on-going, today no one knows why a baby dies so unexpectedly.
There are things that pregnant women can do to reduce the risk of SIDS such as living a healthy lifestyle and avoiding cigarette smoke. And new parents are advised to create a safe sleeping environment as surprisingly the bed is one of the most dangerous environments for babies. However, what about the caregivers supporting your young family? What do you need to tell the nanny, babysitters and other caregivers about how to reduce the chances of SIDS?
Let your nanny, babysitters and other caregivers know that research shows that all babies should be sleeping on their backs. Some people believe that babies who sleep on their back wake up more, which might not be a welcome side effect for a caregiver looking for a needed break once the baby goes down. Remind them that babies (like yours) who are used to sleeping on their backs but are then put on their tummies are 20 times more at risk for SIDS. Explain that this is one of the single most important rules in the care of your child.
Nannies, babysitters and other caregivers must also understand that: beds should be kept free from clutter (pillows, blankets, bumper pads, stuffed animals and other toys); babies should never sleep on adult beds surrounded by pillows; and babies should be supervised when awake in play pens or when in the car seat.
Whilst it is scary for you and your caregivers to even think about SIDS as it relates to your baby, talking about the ways to reduce the risk of SIDS could save your babies’ life.