The Doctors are exclusive contributors to USA Weekend in their column, Health Smart. They cover sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, the unexplained sudden death of a child under 1, and how to prevent it.
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Ways to Avoid Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Dr. Travis Stork: It’s something that can affect any new family without warning, changing lives forever. I’m talking about SIDS and October is National Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness month and in our Health Smart column, in this weekend’s issue of USA Weekend Magazine we actually discuss this in detail because there are still so many misunderstandings about SIDS, right Doctor Sears. Dr. Jim Sears: Oh, it’s very scary. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome it affects about 2000 babies a year, very devastating in the families and probably there are no warning signs, there are no symptoms. It’s usually no explanation about why it happened that’s why it’s so scary. Usually it hits babies between two and four months. Dr. Lisa Masterson: Yeah, and it’s one of the things that mothers are particular, I was really scared without Daniel, I mean to the point where I slept with my hand on his back to make sure he was still breathing and then slept with him and right now he’s in my bed. Dr. Jim Sears: Yeah, other lot of moms and they just almost can’t sleep at night worrying about that. Dr. Lisa Masterson: I think you do. Dr. Travis Stork: And actually, Tiffany is in our audience. She’s a mom who has a question about this very subject, welcome Tiffany. Tiffany: Thank you very much for having me. Definitely, that’s something that I worry about. I have a wonderful brand new seven-week-old baby boy. Audience: Congratulations. Tiffany: Thank you. And as a new mom something that I do constantly every night is creep in the room and put my finger under his nose to make sure he’s still breathing and put my hand on his stomach or check to see if the blanket is moving up and down. And it’s something that I just constantly worry about as a mother. So I’m sure there’s a majority of mothers out there that felt the same way. Dr. Jim Sears: What about your baby sleep position? How does he sleep? Tiffany: We currently put him on his back. We support the back to sleep movement so we definitely do that. Dr. Jim Sears: That is so good, because that’s so important. About a few years ago, 1994, pediatricians started recommending babies sleep on their backs and since then SIDS rates have cut in half. So we may not understand everything about SIDS but we know if baby sleeps on their backs, they’re less likely to have it. Now, I’m curious where your baby sleeps and what his beds like? Tiffany: He sleeps in his crib. It’s a standard normal crib and I try to put and position him in the middle of the crib with nothing surrounding him. Dr. Jim Sears: Now where is the crib? Tiffany: The crib is in the room next door to our bedroom. Dr. Jim Sears: Okay. Now we found, the American Academy of Pediatrics is out recommending that if the crib is in your room SIDS rates also dropped two. So that’s something you may want to change. You’re already doing it right in terms of what’s in the crib, nothing in the crib. No toys, no pillows, no blankets, nothing the baby can get tangled up in and you want a nice firm mattress. You know what the baby sleeping on a pillow top, soft mattress because if he does roll over the space can kind of get stuck in there. That’s really important. Now if you’re like a lot moms that are going to be up worrying all night about your radio, there’s something that’s kind of a cool device for the baby here. It’s called Snuza Halo. It’s actually a little monitoring device and what it does, it clips right on and the diaper here and basically it senses movement. If your baby is breathing your baby is moving, even it senses the slightest movement so I’m just going to turn it on here. Now it’s on. So as long as your baby is breathing even slightly that’s going to sense that movement but if the baby stops breathing that stops moving for 15 seconds after 15 seconds the Snuza Halo will start to vibrate to try to nudge the baby awake and if he doesn’t start moving within five seconds, you get an alarm. It’s starting to

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