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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also known as SIDS, is the sudden death of an infant under one year of age which remains unexplained after a thorough investigation, including a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of the clinical history.
In a typical situation parents check on their supposedly sleeping infant to find him or her dead. This is the worse tragedy parents can face, a tragedy which leaves them with a sadness and a feeling of vulnerability that lasts throughout their lives. Since medicine can not tell them why their baby died, they blame themselves and often other innocent people. Their lives and those around them are changed forever.
What Can Be Done?
Making sure a baby is safe while sleeping can reduce the chances of injury, suffocation or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Parents and caregivers should be aware of the following issues, when laying a child down to sleep.
- Place infants to sleep on their backs
- Place the baby on a firm, flat surface to sleep.
- Babies are safest when they sleep alone in their own bed.
- There should be nothing in the bed but the baby - no covering, no pillows, no bumper pads and no toys.
- Babies should share a bedroom with parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns 1 but at least for the first six months.
- Never place or sleep with a baby on a sofa, waterbed, soft chair, pillow or bean bag.
- Breastfeeding is also recommended as adding protection against SIDS.
- Avoid baby's exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.