Protect Your Baby From SIDS

mother kissing baby on the foreheadInfant death is hard to understand and it can bring anger, pain, sadness, and confusion. Causes of infant deaths vary, but could include sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), birth defects, pre-term/low birthweight, problems with the pregnancy, accidents, or respiratory distress syndrome. African American infant deaths are more than twice the rate of non-Hispanic white infant deaths. There are things you can do to improve your chances of having a healthy baby.

  • Visit your doctor or nurse as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. See your doctor or nurse during your pregnancy for prenatal care.
  • Talk to your doctor or nurse about taking a vitamin with folic acid and iron.
  • Talk to your doctor or nurse about how much weight you should gain.
  • Drink lots of fluids and eat foods high in protein and fiber such as whole wheat breads, whole-grain cereals, fruits (apples, pears, strawberries), nuts, seeds, and beans. Avoid high-fat and fried foods.
  • Talk to your doctor or nurse to make sure you’ve had all the vaccines (shots) you need.
  • Talk to your doctor or nurse about what exercises will help you.
  • Don’t touch cat litter or undercooked meat.
  • Avoid hot tubs, saunas, and steam rooms.
  • Tell your doctor or nurse about any medicines you take, both prescription and over-the-counter.
  • Don’t use drugs, smoke, or drink alcohol.
  • Avoid insecticides and products that have lead, mercury, or solvents (such as paint thinner).

Of great concern to African Americans is sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). African American mothers have higher rates of SIDS, compared to non-Hispanic white mothers. SIDS is the sudden and unexplained death of a baby under one year of age. Even though there is no way to know which babies might die of SIDS, there are some things you can do to make your baby safer.

  • Always place your baby on her or his back to sleep, even for naps.
  • Place your baby on a firm mattress that fits snugly inside the crib.
  • Remove soft, fluffy, and loose bedding (pillows, quilts) and stuffed toys from your baby’s sleep area.
  • Make sure everyone who cares for your baby knows to place your baby on her or his back to sleep on a firm mattress.

Make sure your baby’s face and head are never covered during sleep. Keep blankets away from your baby’s mouth and nose. The best way to do this is to dress the baby in sleep clothing so you will not have to use any other covering over the baby. If you do use a blanket, make sure that the baby’s feet are at the bottom of the crib, the blanket is no higher than the baby’s chest, and the blanket is tucked in around the bottom of the crib mattress.

  • Don’t let anyone smoke around your baby.

Don’t let your baby get too warm during sleep. Keep your baby warm during sleep, but not too warm. Your baby’s room should be at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult. Too many layers of clothing or blankets can overheat your baby.

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