Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Serious Post About SIDS

This topic was on my mind a lot when I was expecting our first little bundle of joy, and it is equally as important to me now.  Although no one really knows what causes a healthy baby to stop breathing, I also feel that there are some risks that aren't worth taking. Some people blame crib bumpers for SIDS although I have read several blog stories about infants dying of SIDS where bumpers did not seem to be a factor.  I did have a crib bumper for my son who is now 4. The crib bumper wasn't really for decorative purposes. I felt that it helped keep him safe and comfortable. Without a crib bumper, there is still a risk that a baby can fall or at least get his face buried between the edge of the mattress and crib sides...even with an appropriate fitting mattress.  I actually tied the bumper tightly with knots and also squished it into the tiny space between his mattress and crib rails so there was never a hole he could "fall" into. Trust me, that thing wasn't going anywhere! When he started sleeping in his crib between 5 and 6 months, we made sure the crib mattress was lowered so he couldn't climb out...he never did! I was very afraid of SIDS, and I utilized a few options to ease my mind.

1. I kept him in my room next to my bed (not co-sleeping with me though) for more than four months in a large bassinet. From what I have read, having them in your room is one of the safest places they can be.

2. I also purchased the Angelcare Sensor pad monitor system which seemed to be the best SIDS preventive device on the market. Although we never had an incident, I knew it worked because I "checked" it all the time. If he was taken out of his bed and the monitor was not turned off, the alarm would sound within seconds so theoretically the same thing would have happened if he had stopped breathing or moving.  It would definitely have woken me up...heck, it would wake up the dead!  I just purchased another one for the new baby since ours is now four years old, and we still use the sound monitor in Evan's room. 

3. I kept the room temperature cool and used a fan to help with air circulation. Overheating is also thought to be a contributing factor of SIDS.

4. I never swaddled my baby at night. I believe that the "startle" reflex is a baby's natural instinct to wake themselves up in an "emergency." Actually from what I have read, swaddling is also thought to be a major contributing factor of SIDS. I would dress him comfortably for bed...mostly in an infant gown. He was a Spring/Summer baby so he didn't need blankets for warmth.

5. I prayed all the time for my baby's safety. Perhaps this is the best option we have!

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