Each year in the United States, about 4,000 infants die suddenly of no immediately, obvious cause. About half of these Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID) are due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the leading cause of SUID and of all deaths among infants aged 1–12 months (http://www.cdc.gov/sids/).
Years before ever having a child SIDS impacted my life greatly. I didn’t even know the family who had lost their baby, but I was friends with that baby’s aunt. I will never forget talking to her, not knowing what to say, only listening. I listened to her not one, but two stories of a niece and a nephew that she had lost to SIDS. She was finishing up her Masters in Graphic Design at the time, and her final project was creating an entire media kit for SIDS Awareness. I also got to see a photo of that beautiful baby girl, angelic in her eternal sleep. I will never forget it.
My friend’s experience with SIDS stuck with me throughout the years. She had a baby of her own, and purchased a special monitor because of her family’s losses – she was determined to do anything she could to prevent another loss to SIDS.
A couple years later, I was blessed with my own baby. Because of my friend, SIDS was on my radar. We purchased the highest-rated crib (for safety) in our class. Despite all of the beautiful adornments made for cribs, ours went bare – no bumpers, safe or not, decorative pillows, stuffed animals, blankets, etc. When Declan finally arrived, we swaddled him until our pediatrician told us not to (around 2-3 months, I believe) and then we transferred him to a sleep sack. Back is Best was our mantra (but our little stomach sleeper had other plans as soon as he could roll). We made sure that the room temperature was appropriate, as well as his pajamas – no too hot, not too cold. At 15 months old, Declan still has a sleep sack (a HALO Early Walker).
- Use a firm sleep mattress in a safety-approved crib
- Don’t use pillows, blankets or bumpers in your baby’s sleep area
- Keep any additional objects out of your baby’s crib (toys, extra blankets, etc.)
- Do not smoke or let anyone smoke around your baby
- Make sure nothing covers baby’s head
- Always place baby on his/her back to sleep, naps and nighttime
- Dress your baby in light clothing, such as a one piece sleeper
Wondering if you’ve created a safe environment for your little one? Use this tool to check HERE.
Has your life been touched by SIDS?
*During the month of October, HALO will donate $1 to SIDS Awareness for every new Facebook “like”.