SIDS: Facts vs. Fiction
Did you know Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death for infants between one month and one year of age?
Researchers have started to understand SIDS over the years, but there are still many misconceptions about the syndrome and what can be done to prevent it. The United States has seen a reduction in SIDS deaths over the last few decades and experts all agree it’s thanks to increased education.
We’re ParentEducate.com, where parents go to learn. Our engaging online courses help parents like you get the facts on a variety of parenting topics — including SIDS and how to best prevent it.
To help you separate SIDS facts from fiction, we’ve debunked three common myths about the syndrome.
- SIDS is linked to vaccinations and/or immunizations.
Experts emphatically agree there is no link between vaccinations and SIDS cases. In fact, when it comes to risk factors, sleep position is most important. Reduce the chances of SIDS by creating a safe sleeping environment and paying close attention to your sleeping infant’s body positions.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (the leader in educating parents about safe sleep practices) established a set of recommendations for infant sleeping positions in the mid-1990s. Since then, the United States has seen a 50% decrease in SIDS rates nationwide.
- It’s dangerous to place a baby on its back to sleep.
According to the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services, babies who sleep on their stomachs rather than their backs are actually at an increased risk for SIDS. The back position is the safest way for all babies to rest until they reach the age of one.
The HHS partnered with numerous other organizations in 1994 to promote this idea through its Back to Sleep campaign. The campaign is still active today, under the new name of Safe to Sleep.
- Soft sleeping surfaces make for better sleeping environments.
While it may seem counter-intuitive to opt for firm sleeping surfaces, studies have shown that soft bedding appeared to pose five times the risk of SIDS as firm bedding. Additionally, researchers have found that infants who sleep on their stomachs on soft bedding are 19 times as likely to contract SIDS than infants sleeping on their backs on firm bedding.
In addition to avoiding soft surfaces, experts also warn against putting any loose bedding near an infant while they sleep. Not only can loose bedding cover an infant’s nose/mouth causing a lack of oxygen (a risk factor that contributes to SIDS), but it can also inhibit their ability to adjust position while sleeping.
Want to learn more about how to prevent SIDS? Sign up for a free trial to gain access to our Reducing the Risk of SIDS and Creating Safe Sleep Environments course (and over 50 additional classes) today.