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Healthline Connects
Healthline Connects

Safe and Sound Sleep for Babies: Hold the Pollution

Everything is in place. The painted clouds on the ceiling are dry, the car seat is belted tight, the crib has passed all safety regulations, and you are ready to come home with a new baby. Everyone is happy to be home safe and sound. Then suddenly you go into check the baby and all is quiet, too quiet.

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is responsible for more infant deaths in the US than any other cause of death in children in the first year of life. It is a phenomenon of unknown cause and with few known risk factors.

In the 1990s the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released its first recommendation to reduce the risk of SIDS. The AAP policy statement on reducing the risk of SIDS recommends that all healthy infants be placed on their backs during sleep.

In observance of Sudden Infant Death Awareness Month Healthline offers these tips based on the recommendations of the AAP, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the First Candle/SIDS Alliance. These groups all contributed to the Back to Sleep Campaign to help inform all infant caregivers about the importance of back sleeping. Since the launch of this educational program the rates of SIDS have declined by more than 50 percent.

Tips to Reduce the Risk of SIDS
  • Always place a baby to sleep on his or her back at night and during naptime (make sure the baby gets some tummy time when your baby is awake though)
  • Place baby on a safety-approved firm crib mattress covered with a fitted sheet
  • Keep blankets and other coverings away from a baby's nose and mouth
  • Don’t use pillows, blankets, quilts, sheepskins, or pillow-like bumpers
  • Remove soft toys and other objects from sleep areas
  • Keep sleeping areas at a comfortable temperature to avoid many layers of clothing or heavy blankets (with the cold winter months upon us, there is an increase in the number of infants who die from SIDS because parents often place extra blankets or night clothes on infants)
  • Keep baby’s environment smoke free (and pollution free?*)

*In the August 2006 issue of the AAP journal Pediatrics the study Air Pollution and Infant Death in Southern California, 1989–2000 adds to the growing body of evidence implicating air pollution in infant death from respiratory causes and sudden infant death syndrome. The authors found that risk of dying as a result of sudden infant death syndrome increased 15% to 19% per 1-part per hundred million increase in average nitrogen dioxide levels 2 months before death.

TAGS: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome; SIDS; Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness

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