This episode is designed to give students an approach to sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS. SIDS is the leading cause of post-neonatal infant death. Learn about the incidence, risk factors, as well as prevention of this complex multifactorial disorder. This podcast was develop by Ashlee Yang, a medical student at the University of Alberta with the help of Dr. Melanie Lewis, a general pediatrician and Professor at the University of Alberta and Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
How do we prevent SIDS and counsel parents?
Currently, no effective way exists to screen in early infancy for intrinsic or genetic abnormalities that increase the risk for SIDS. However, there are strategies to reduce the risk of SIDS, such
as receiving regular prenatal care and creating a safe sleep and home environment.
Here is some advice you can provide to parents:
1. Seek prenatal care early and follow up regularly.
2. Stop or reduce smoking during pregnancy. After the baby is born, avoid smoking inside the house and around the baby.
3. Breastfeeding is encouraged as it reduces risk for SIDS and has other health benefits.
4. “Back to sleep, front to play” is an important phrase to remember– place the baby on his or her back when sleeping or napping, not on their front or side. Supervised “tummy time” or playtime in prone position while awake is good. 5. For babies under 6 months of age, room sharing is encouraged but bed sharing should be avoided. Babies should sleep in their own crib, preferably in the same room as parents. Do not place the baby in a bed, sofa or chair with other children.
6. Use a flat, firm surface for sleep. Babies can turn onto their stomach or side and bury their face in these soft materials, causing them to suffocate. Pillows, air mattresses, couches/sofas or soft materials are not safe sleep surfaces.
7. Playpens and car seats are not safe alternatives to a crib for supervised sleep.
8. Keep loose or soft bedding materials such as stuffed animals, comforters, pillows, bumper pads etc. out of the sleep environment.
9. Avoid overheating and over bundling…Dress the baby lightly and set the room at a comfortable temperature. If swaddling, make sure the airway is clear and there is
enough room for legs to move.
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