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Precautions parents should take to prevent SIDS

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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death among infants under a year old.

There are a variety of products parents are buying in hopes of keeping their babies safe, but the medical community warns that no product can guarantee complete prevention.

Kelly Corona remembers the night her son, Jacob, stopped breathing.

"I just remember thinking, this can't be it, he's going to come back, he has to come back," Corona says.

Within minutes, her baby boy was white, limp and cold. She administered CPR and he was rushed to the hospital.

"I can't get that picture out of my head," she says.

She recalls running to his crib after hearing a loud signal from a specially-designed monitor. The device would alert her if Jacob completely stopped moving for more than a few seconds.

Corona says she still has her happy, healthy boy thanks to the Snuza monitor.

Like many parents, Corona purchased the monitor as an added layer of protection to prevent SIDS.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 4,500 infants suddenly die with no obvious cause every year.

"It's sort of a diagnosis of exclusion where they can't find another reason for the death at a time when the baby was sleeping," says Lisa Schutlz, a neo-natal intensive care nurse at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Since no one knows what causes SIDS, no product or device can prevent it or even reduce the risk.

That's why many popular products like the Snuza and Angelcare Mattress are marketed as "parenting aids" and not "health monitors."

The American Academy of Pediatrics has found unproven SIDS protection claims on a number of other products ranging from monitors and mattresses, to pillows and positioners.

Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration has never approved a product to prevent or reduce the risk of SIDS.

Overwhelmingly, preventative care is the medical community's recommendation for parents.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a baby should always sleep on their back on a firm surface either in a crib or bassinet.

They should be placed on a mattress with only a fitted sheet. Never place pillows, comforters, bumper pads or stuffed toys in the crib that could suffocate the child.

They should sleep alone, because sleeping with an adult increases the risk of SIDS. Parents could inadvertently roll onto their infant, or the baby could get tangled in the sheets and be strangled.

Stomach sleeping, cigarette smoke, preemies and soft bedding have all been linked to increased risk of SIDS.

When new parents are determining sleeping arrangements or creating a sleep area for their baby, be sure to communicate this with grandparents, siblings, relatives and friends.

Anyone who may be putting your baby down to sleep should know how to keep the child safe.

While the true cause of SIDS remains a mystery, preventive practices like the ones mentioned have been proven to dramatically reduce the risk.

Nevertheless, the decision of whether to purchase products on the market aimed at preventing SIDS is completely up to parents.

Copyright 2013 America Now. All rights reserved.

Additional Information:

The following information is from the Snuza product website (Source: https://www.snuza.info/).

  • There are no devices that have ever been invented, including Snuza monitors, that will reduce the risk of or prevent SIDS.
  • The Snuza monitor can sense your babies abdominal movements, and if movements are not detected an alarm sounds to alert the babies caregiver that they need to take immediate action to assist the baby.
  • We do not claim that Snuza monitors will prevent or monitor any health problems, and we recommend that infants with a known health problem are monitored in consultation with their pediatrician.
  • We support the Safe Sleep Recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and other child health organizations.
  • The Snuza is a parenting aid that will alert parents if the monitor cannot detect movement. It is entirely up to the parents to then take the appropriate action to ensure the well being of their child.
  • Mobile, clips onto baby's diaper to ensure normal movement.
  • Alerts you if the baby's movements are very week or fall to less than 8 movements per minute.
  • No movement for 15 seconds and the Snuza Hero vibrates to rouse the baby, then go back to monitoring mode.
  • After 3 vibration/rouse incidents, the Rouse Warning alerts you.

Lisa Schultz is a Neo-natal Intensive Care nurse at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, NC, and she shared the following information:

  • One factor with SIDS is keeping the room too warm. Don't make it hotter than 68 degrees and do not overdress the baby.
  • Use "Tummy Time" when a child is awake.

Kelly Corona is the mother America Now interviewed for this story.

  • She chose the Snuza over mattress monitors because it attaches to the baby's diaper, gives him mobility, and can be used in the car seat, couch or anywhere he falls asleep.
  • A month after buying the Snuza, Jacob started suffering from "silent reflux." He stopped breathing due to an allergy and a heavy crying episode.
  • On that night, she had put him down for a nap and was watching and listening to his monitor. She dosed off as well and awoke to the sound of the Snuza going off. She found him in his crib not breathing. She called 911 and began infant CPR. After a few moments, he took a breath and started struggling. He was taken to the hospital and completely revived.

The following information is from BabyZone.com in an article entitled "SIDs and Baby Sleep Monitors" (Source: http://www.babyzone.com/newborn/newborn-health-and-safety/child-view-monitor-sids-prevention_65654).

  • Visual monitors let you clearly see and hear baby on a large screen.
  • The camera attaches to the crib.
  • Safety 1st, Summer's Infant Day & Night Baby Video Monitor and MOBI's Audio Video Baby Monitoring System are a few models.
  • BebeSounds Angelcare Movement Sensor with Sound Monitor works up to 200 feet with an added movement sensor that sounds an alarm if not movement is detected for 20 seconds.
  • An under-the-mattress sensor pad between the mattress and bottom of the crib is used.
  • After 20 seconds of no movement the nursery gets an alarm from the sensor pad to the parent's unit.
  • The sensor covers the entire surface of the mattress.
  • If your crib has springs, try a piece of plywood between the sensor and the springs.
  • Since the cause of SIDS is largely unknown, there is no specific evidence that at-home monitoring products prevent SIDS.

The following information is from USA Today in an article entitled "Study casts doubt on value of SIDS monitors" (http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2001-05-01-sids-monitors.htm).

  • In 1986, a National Institutes of Health consensus panel concluded that babies at risk for SIDS should have their breathing and heart rate monitored, even though there was no scientific evidence to support that.
  • A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that prolonged episodes of apnea or slow heart rate occur mainly before the age at which SIDS is most likely - between 2 and 6 months for full-term infants. And, the researchers found, such episodes occur frequently even in healthy babies who are not at an elevated risk for SIDS.
  • 20,000 to 30,000 U.S. babies are sent home from the hospital with monitors each year at a cost of $30 million.
  • The study author says money is better spent educating parents on the importance of placing babies to sleep on their backs without fluffy bedding - the one measure that clearly prevents SIDS.
  • The study looked at 1,079 infants who were monitored for more than 700,000 hours. They used specially designed monitors that, unlike conventional monitors, detected when the babies weren't getting oxygen, even though their chests were moving. Some were healthy while others were at risk of SIDS.

The following information is from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in an article entitled "Do Baby Products Prevent SIDS? FDA Says No" (Source: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm275847.htm).

  • The FDA says best thing you can do to lower the chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is to place your baby on his or her back to sleep, with nothing else in the crib or bassinet.
  • The FDA is working to prevent manufacturers of sleep products for babies from claiming that their use will prevent or lower the chance of SIDS (infant positioners, mattresses, crib bedding, pillows, tents and baby monitors.)
  • Products that claim to cure, treat or prevent any condition are considered medical devices which are subject to FDA regulations.
  • The FDA has never approved a product to prevent SIDS
  • Use the "A-B-C" method:
    • Baby should sleep Alone in their own bed so he/she is not accidentally suffocated when you roll over.
    • Back to sleep: baby sleeps on their back. Since the Back to Sleep campaign began in 1994, there has been a 60 percent reduction in SIDS.
    • Crib: baby should always be placed in a crib or bassinet to sleep.
    • The ideal sleep area is free of anything, just a firm crib mattress and a tight-fitting sheet

The following information is from Medline Plus in an online article entitled Sudden infant death syndrome" (Source: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001566.htm).

  • SIDS is the unexpected, sudden death of a child under age 1 in which an autopsy does not show an explainable cause of death.
  • Doctors and researchers believe there are several factors: problems with baby's ability to wake, inability for baby's body to detect a build up of carbon dioxide in the blood.
  • Thousands of babies die of SIDS in the US every year.
  • SIDS is most likely to occur between 2 and 4 months old, affecting more boys than girls, occurring more often in the winter.
  • The following have been linked to a baby's increased risk of SIDS:
    • Sleeping on the stomach
    • Being around cigarette smoke while in the womb or after being born
    • Sleeping in the same bed as their parents (co-sleeping)
    • Soft bedding in the crib
    • Multiple birth babies (being a twin, triplet, etc.)
    • Premature birth
    • Having a brother or sister who had SIDS
    • Mothers who smoke or use illegal drugs
    • Being born to a teen mother
    • Short time period between pregnancies
    • Late or no prenatal care
    • Living in poverty situations

The following information is from healthychildren.org in an article entitled "Reduce the Risk of SIDS" (Source: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/Preventing-SIDS.aspx?nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3a+No+local+token). 

  • These recommendations are from the American Academy of Pediatrics and are for healthy babies up to 1 year of age. A very small number of babies with certain medical conditions may need to be placed to sleep on their stomachs. Your baby's doctor can tell you what is best for your baby.
  • Place your baby to sleep on his back for every sleep. If your baby has rolled from his back to his side or stomach on his own, he can be left in that position if he is already able to roll from tummy to back and back to tummy. If your baby falls asleep in a car safety seat, stroller, swing, infant carrier, or infant sling he should be moved to a firm sleep surface as soon as possible.
  • Place your baby to sleep on a firm sleep surface. The crib --http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/New-Crib-Standards-What-Parents-Need-to-Know.aspx--, bassinet, portable crib, or play yard should meet current safety standards. Check to make sure the product has not been recalled. Do not use a crib that is broken or missing parts, or has drop-side rails. Cover the mattress that comes with the product with a fitted sheet. Do not put blankets or pillows between the mattress and the fitted sheet. Never put your baby to sleep on a chair, sofa, water bed, cushion, or sheepskin. For more information about crib safety standards, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site at www.cpsc.gov --http://www.cpsc.gov/--.
  • Keep soft objects, loose bedding, or any objects that could increase the risk of entrapment, suffocation, or strangulation out of the crib. Pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, bumper pads, and stuffed toys can cause your baby to suffocate. Note: Research has not shown us when it's 100% safe to have these objects in the crib; however, most experts agree that after 12 months of age these objects pose little risk to healthy babies.
  • Place your baby to sleep in the same room where you sleep but not the same bed. Keep the crib or bassinet within an arm's reach of your bed. You can easily watch or breastfeed your baby by having your baby nearby. Babies who sleep in the same bed as their parents are at risk of SIDS, suffocation, or strangulation. Parents can roll onto babies during sleep or babies can get tangled in the sheets or blankets.
  • Breastfeed as much and for as long as you can. Studies show that breastfeeding --http://www.healthychildren.org/english/ages-stages/baby/breastfeeding/Pages/default.aspx-- your baby can help reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Schedule and go to all well-child visits. Your baby will receive important immunizations --http://www.healthychildren.org/english/safety-prevention/immunizations/Pages/default.aspx--. Recent evidence suggests that immunizations may have a protective effect against SIDS.
  • Keep your baby away from smokers and places where people smoke. If you smoke --http://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/tobacco/Pages/default.aspx--, try to quit. However, until you can quit, keep your car and home smoke-free. Don't smoke inside your home or car and don't smoke anywhere near your baby, even if you are outside.
  • Do not let your baby get too hot. Keep the room where your baby sleeps at a comfortable temperature. In general, dress your baby in no more than one extra layer than you would wear. Your baby may be too hot if she is sweating or if her chest feels hot. If you are worried that your baby is cold, infant sleep clothing designed to keep babies warm without the risk of covering their heads can be used.
  • Offer a pacifier at nap time and bedtime. This helps to reduce the risk of SIDS. If you are breastfeeding, wait until breastfeeding is going well before offering a pacifier --http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/Pacifier-Safety.aspx--. This usually takes 3 to 4 weeks. It's OK if your baby doesn't want to use a pacifier. You can try offering a pacifier again, but some babies don't like to use pacifiers. If your baby takes the pacifier and it falls out after he falls asleep, you don't have to put it back in.
  • Do not use home cardiorespiratory monitors to help reduce the risk of SIDS. Home cardiorespiratory monitors can be helpful for babies with breathing or heart problems but they have not been found to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Do not use products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS. Products such as wedges, positioners, special mattresses, and specialized sleep surfaces have not been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS. In addition, some infants have suffocated while using these products.
  • Give baby Tummy Time when awake.

The following information is from the Mayo Clinic in an article entitled "Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)" (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sudden-infant-death-syndrome/DS00145/DSECTION=risk-factors).

  • For reasons not well understood, black, American Indian and Eskimo infants are more likely to develop SIDS
  • Babies whose siblings or cousins die of SIDS are at higher risk.
  • Mothers under 20, smoking, drug or alcohol use and inadequate prenatal care increase risk.
  • Any amount of breast-feeding reduces the risk.

The following information is National Public Radio in a Science and Medicine special series entitled "Rethinking SIDS: Many Death No Longer A Mystery" (Source: http://www.npr.org/2011/07/15/137859024/rethinking-sids-many-deaths-no-longer-a-mystery).

  • More than 2,000 babies die of SIDS every year.
  • Often called a "diagnosis of exclusion"…the diagnosis given when everything else is ruled out.

The following information is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in an online article entitled "Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID)" (Source: http://www.cdc.gov/sids/).

  • Every year in the US, more than 4,500 infants die suddenly of no immediate, obvious cause.
  • SIDS is the leading cause of all deaths among infants aged 1-12 months. 

The following information is from the Angelcare product website (Source: http://www.angelcare-monitor.com/United-States/en/products/angelcare-monitor-AC300).

  • Can be used with the sound monitor you already own.
  • Can be used anywhere baby sleeps (camping, chalet and other places without electricity).
  • Under-the-mattress Sensor Pad detects every movement baby makes.
  • Alarm sounds after 20 seconds if absolutely no movement is detected.
  • Adjustable sensitivity.
  • Battery operated on 2 AA cells.

 

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