The Best Way To Put Babies To Sleep To Reduce SIDS Risk

African American baby sleeping on backSudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death for babies 1 month to 1 year of age. Recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that Black babies are dying from SIDS at a rate higher than most ethnic groups. With the infant mortality rate still at an all-time high in the Black community one has to ask,”What’s being done to save our babies?”

READ: Why Do Black Babies Have Twice The Infant Mortality Rate?

Public education campaign, “Safe to Sleep” (formerly known as the “Back to Sleep” campaign) provides parents with information on how to properly put your child to sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS . According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development the direct causes of this mystery disease are unknown, but there are preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of SIDS. One of the preventative measures you can take are developing a safe sleeping environment for your baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has developed a list of very important things to keep in mind when putting your child to sleep.

BlackDoctor.org also sought help from Dr. Tracei D. Ball, Founder of OnCall Mobile Medical and Wellness PLLC, an innovative medical practice that provides housecalls in the metropolitan region of Charlotte, NC.

Babies Should Sleep On Their Backs

Infants should be placed for sleep on their backs (supine position) until 1 year of age.This position doesn’t increase the child’s risk of choking and aspiration. While sleeping in the supine position do not prop or elevate your child’s head. It puts the child’s respiration into compromise when doing such. Side sleeping isn’t recommended and unsafe according to a recent policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics

“Having a child sleep on their side is not an alternative to sleeping on their back. Studies show a decrease in infant SIDS deaths when parents/caretakers put babies on their backs to sleep,”  says Dr. Ball.

She added that , “25 percent of parents do not follow the recommendation to put their babies to sleep on their backs, of those parents, about half are African American.”

Firm Sleeping Surface

No more sleeping on mama’s soft, cushiony bed for a good night’s rest. The AAP recommends a firm sleeping surface, such as a firm crib mattress covered by a fitted sheet, to reduce your infant’s risk of SIDS and suffocation. The mattress your child sleeps on should be designed specifically for the product it was designed for. It should be firm and maintain its shape when the fitted sheet is applied. You don’t want any gaps between the mattress and the side of the crib. Do not place your infant on pillows, cushions, quilts, comforters or sheepskin while they’re sleeping. These are not appropriate substitutes or necessary additions to a firm mattress.

Dr. Ball advises that you “avoid placing an infant down to sleep on a sofa, chair, cushion or co-sleeping to prevent accidental suffocation.”