Cot Death – Prevention of Cot Death

Cot death is the sudden and an unexpected death of a baby under two years of age and is also called crib death or sudden infant death syndrome. It has no symptoms or warning signs and occurs usually in sleep and studies have shown that this disorder occurs because of certain factors that may put babies at risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). There is only one way, that is to prevent SIDS, by helping your baby sleep safely. The American Academy of Pediatrics includes the following:

  • Make the baby lie on his or her back: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of pediatricians urge to make the baby lie on his or back rather than on the stomach or side and this is not needed when the baby is awake and roll over without your help, because the head of the baby is very soft and pliable and some newborns develop a flattening of the head at the back from sleeping on their backs. This flattening can be treated easily and is not harmful.
  • Baby should be positioned well when under the care of Care Takers: Be sure that your baby is placed on his or her back when in the care of others. Don’t ever think that others will place your baby to sleep in the correct position. Tell the baby sitters and child care personnel not to follow the stomach position to calm an upset baby.
  • Don’t Smoke: Keep a smoke-free environment as this is very important for your baby during the first year of life. Smoke includes cigarette and other environmental pollutants.
  • Bedding: Select the bedding for your baby carefully and try to use a compact mattress, rather than a beanbag or water bed. Do not keep your baby on fluffy padding like a thick quilt or lambskin as this may interfere with the breathing pattern of the baby if it presses against the face. Don’t leave fluffy toys,stuffed toys or pillows in the infants crib. Try to keep your baby warm by using a sleep sack or any clothing that does not need additional covers. If you use a blanket, then make it light weight and make sure that you tuck the blanket safely at the bottom of the crib with the needed length to cover the baby’s shoulders. Place the baby in the crib, near the foot and cover it loosely with the blanket. Never cover your baby’s head.
  • Place your baby in a crib or bassinet: Adult beds are not safe for infants as they can get trapped between the mattress and the bed frame or between the mattress and the wall resulting in suffocation. A baby can suffocate if a parent who is deep in his/her sleep can accidentally roll and cover the baby’s mouth and nose.
  • Keep your baby nearby: Keep your baby’s bassinet or crib in the room where the parent sleeps. Make the infants sleep in the same room though not in the same bed.
  • Breast Feeding: Research states that breast fed babies are at lower risk of SIDS.
  • Pacifier: Sucking on a pacifier at bedtime can reduce the risk of SIDS.If your baby is not interested in a pacifier, don’t force the use of a pacifier. While sleeping, if the pacifier falls off your baby’s mouth then do not try to pop it back again.
  • Room Temperature: Keep the temperature in the baby’s room at a level that is comfortable for you. If the baby’s face and neck sweats, then use lighter covers for the baby.
  • When you follow the above ways for your baby, then you can prevent the occurrence of cot deaths. These are very important in the early months of a newborn.

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