Breastfeeding and Immunizations Lower SIDS Risk

Most parents know that babies should sleep on their backs to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

But there is more they can do to decrease their infant’s risk.

Breastfeeding is recommended and is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Parents may also slash their child’s risk of SIDS by 50 percent if they make sure their baby receives recommended vaccinations.

And just as important, doctors say, bumper pads do not belong in cribs.

“There is no evidence that bumper pads prevent injuries, and there is a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment,” a news release from the AAP states.

The AAP recently expanded its guidelines on safe sleep for babies. Since 1992, when pediatricians started recommending babies sleep on their backs, deaths from SIDS have dramatically decreased. However, the number of babies dying from other sleep-related deaths such as suffocation, entrapment and asphyxia, have increased.

The AAP recommends the following guidelines for parents:

  • Place your baby on his or her back for every sleep time.
  • Use a firm sleep surface.
  • Do not use car seats and other sitting devices for routine sleep.
  • Have your baby sleep in your room, but not your bed.
  • Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib. Do not use pillows, blankets and bumper pads in the crib.
  • Do not use wedges or sleep positioners.
  • Pregnant women should see a doctor for regular prenatal care.
  • Do not smoke during or after pregnancy.
  • Breastfeed your baby.
  • Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime.
  • Avoid covering your infant’s head. This can lead to overheating.
  • Do not use home monitors or commercial devices that are marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Make sure your baby receives all recommended vaccinations.
  • Give your baby “tummy time” when he or she is awake and you can supervise them. This will help proper development and minimize the occurrence of positional plagiocephaly – when a baby develops a flat head.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics news release

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