A parent's greatest fear. In 2015, 3700 infants died due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Unknown Causes and Accidental Suffocation or Strangulation in bed. 1,600 of those deaths were caused by SIDS. This mysterious cause of death has left families devastated. Is your little one susceptible to SIDS? What can you do?
There are three main factors to SIDS. When all three of these combine, it requires the extra diligence of parents and carers.
The first factor is: Critical Development Period.
This period of an infant's development spans from birth - 6 months. During this time period infants need to be put to sleep on their backs ideally in an infant sleeping bag. Their cot surface ought to be firm and not plush. Keep all toys and loose blankets and pillows out of the cot, including cot bumpers.
The second factor is: Outside Stressors.
These external influences include loose blankets or pillows in the infant's cot. Additional factors include a parent smoking around the infant or even during pregnancy. Sharing a bed with your infant after drinking alcohol or taking medication or drugs that decrease your own waking response are also serious risk factors. Additionally, sleeping on a sofa or arm chair heightens the risk.
The final factor is: Vulnerable Infant.
This glitch in an infant's brain stem is (at the moment) undetectable with tests. There is no way of knowing if your infant has this dysfunction in their brainstem. The glitch involves an immature cardioresperatory (or arousal) system. This glitch means they don't have the reactive response at this age to awaken if their airway is obstructed or covered.
Your mother may have put you to sleep on your tummy and you turned out fine. Your sister swears by this new-fangled pillow contraption the baby store is now selling. Half of your mother's group are co-sleeping. The fact is you don't know if your infant is vulnerable. You cannot risk it.
As your infant gets older and past the Critical Development Period where they are rolling around and sitting up on their own, you can be a bit more flexible. But until then, with the information you now have, be determined to protect the health and wellbeing of your infant and do your utmost to not let these three factors combine (like a ven diagram) to bring about the worst outcome for your family.
We can give you other solutions to better sleep for your infant. Contact Cradle 2 Kindy Parenting Solutions to begin your journey to better family sleep.