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Lawrence County Health Department urging SIDS awareness

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS is the sudden unexplained death of an infant under the age of 1 year old which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and a review of the clinical history.

It is the leading cause of death for infants between 1 month and 6 months of age.

According to a study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, since the (NICHD) launched the Back to Sleep campaign in 1994 the prevalence of babies being placed for sleep on their backs has increased from approximately 25 percent to about 70 percent. Along with the increase of babies being put to sleep on their backs the SIDS rate has decreased by more than 50 percent.

There are numerous ways we can contribute to the decrease of infants dying unexpectedly in their first year of life.

Placing babies on their backs to sleep (unless there is a medical contraindication);

Placing babies in their own crib to sleep- not sharing a bed with a family member;

No smoking around babies;

No smoking by mother when she is pregnant;

Early and routine prenatal care for expectant mothers;

Do not bundle a baby while they are sleeping, a sleeper and no blanket is really best. If the room is comfortable to adults, most likely the baby is comfortable. Do not keep babies too warm.

Don’t have pillows, stuffed animals or other items in the crib with your baby.

Use a firm mattress – no waterbeds;

Breastfeeding- provides increased immunity against certain illnesses and infections;

Be sure that your childcare provider knows the risks of SIDS and the ways to reduce the risk to your baby while in their care;

Place babies down to sleep with a pacifier.

In closing, SIDS is a problem that is still under investigation but there are great strides being made.

It is more common in male infants. It is more common in the fall and winter months. Follow these simple guidelines and be sure that all who care for your baby when you are not present follow the same guidelines — whether during naps or nighttime sleep.

For more information please call the Lawrence County Health Department at 532-3962.