Posts Tagged ‘SIDS’

How to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month. SIDS is the sudden, unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year old. Here are some things you can do to help reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS.

How can you make sure your baby’s sleeping in a safe place?

  • Put your baby to sleep on his back on a flat, firm surface, like a crib mattress covered with a tightly fitted sheet. Use a safety-approved mattress and crib.
  • Visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to learn more about product safety standards or product recalls.
  • Put your baby to bed in his own crib or bassinet. Don’t bed-share. Share a room with your baby, but not the same bed. If you have multiples (twins, triplets or more), put each baby in his own bassinet or crib.
  • Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area. This includes blankets, pillows, bumper pads, and soft toys.
  • Don’t let your baby sleep in his carrier, sling, car seat or stroller.
  • Don’t put your baby to sleep on a waterbed, sofa, soft mattress or other soft surface. Portable bed rails don’t always prevent a baby from rolling out of bed. Babies can get stuck in them and choke.
  • Remove any hanging window cords or electrical wires near where your baby sleeps. Babies can get tangled in them and choke.

How do you put your baby to sleep safely?

  • Place your baby on her back at all sleep times until she’s 1 year old – this includes naps and at night.
  • Don’t let your baby get too hot while she’s sleeping. Dress her in light sleep clothes. A blanket sleeper (a kind of clothing just for sleeping) can help keep your baby warm without covering his face or head. If your baby is sweating or her chest feels hot, she may be overheated.
  • Give your baby a pacifier for naps and at bedtime. Pacifiers may help protect against SIDS. Wait until your baby is 1 month old before using the pacifier, if you’re breastfeeding.

What else can you do to help reduce the risk of SIDS?

  • Breastfeed your baby. The longer you exclusively breastfeed your baby, the lower the risk of SIDS for your baby.
  • Don’t smoke during pregnancy. Do not smoke or allow others to smoke around your baby.

Learn more about how to help your baby sleep safely at: marchofdimes.org

September is Infant Mortality Awareness Month

Monday, September 10th, 2018

September is Infant Mortality Awareness Month. It’s a time for us to bring attention to the fact that, sadly, babies die during infancy. And it’s a time to talk about why we must take action to help fix this problem.

Infant mortality is the death of a baby before his first birthday. According to the CDC, in 2016 the infant mortality rate in the United States was 5.9 deaths per 1,000 live births. The rate for Non-Hispanic black was much higher at 11.4 per 1,000 live births.

These facts are alarming. March of Dimes is working hard in advocacy, education and research to level the playing field so all moms and babies are healthy.

What are the leading causes of infant mortality in the U.S.? 

  1. Birth defects
  2. Premature birth and low birthweight
  3. Sudden infant death syndrome (also called SIDS)
  4. Pregnancy complications
  5. Injuries (such as suffocation)

What can you do?

Not all causes of infant mortality can be prevented. But here’s what you can do to help keep your baby healthy and reduce the risk of infant death:

Before pregnancy

  • Take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid. Taking folic acid before and during early pregnancy can help prevent birth defects of the brain and spine called neural tube defects. Some studies show that it also may help prevent heart defects and cleft lip and palate in your baby.
  • Get a preconception checkup. This is a medical checkup you get before pregnancy. At this checkup, your provider looks for health conditions that may affect your pregnancy and the health of your baby. Your provider can help you get treated for these conditions to help your baby be born healthy.
  • Get to a healthy weight. Getting to a healthy weight before pregnancy may help prevent complications during pregnancy. Eat healthy foods and do something active every day.

During pregnancy

  • Get early and regular prenatal care. Go to all your prenatal care checkups, even if you’re feeling fine. This lets your provider make sure you and your baby are healthy. She also can spot and treat any problems that you may have during pregnancy.
  • Don’t smoke, drink alcohol or use harmful drugs. Alcohol, drugs and chemicals from smoke can pass directly through the umbilical cord to your baby. This can cause serious problems during pregnancy, including miscarriage, birth defects and premature birth.

After your baby’s birth

  • Make sure your baby sleeps safely. Put your baby to sleep on her back on a flat, firm surface (like a crib mattress). The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that you and your baby sleep in the same room, but not in the same bed, for the first year of your baby’s life, but at least for the first 6 months.
  • Wait at least 18 months after having a baby before getting pregnant again. Getting pregnant again before 18 months can increase the chance in your next pregnancy of premature birth and low birthweight. Waiting at least 18 months between pregnancies allows your body time to fully recover from your last pregnancy before it’s ready for your next pregnancy.

Take action today

You can help us lead the fight for the health of all moms and babies. Join March of Dimes’ advocacy network and take action now to support legislation that can help protect moms and babies.

Visit marchofdimes.org and learn more about the steps you can take to be as healthy as possible before and during pregnancy.

Breastfeeding is good for mom and baby

Thursday, July 12th, 2018

In the United States, most new moms (about 80 percent) breastfeed their babies. About half of these moms breastfeed for at least 6 months. You may know that breastfeeding is best for your baby, but did you know that it’s good for you, too? Here’s why breastfeeding is good for both of you:

For your baby, breast milk:

  • Has the right amount of protein, sugar, fat and most vitamins to help your baby grow and develop.
  • Contains antibodies that help protect your baby. Antibodies are cells in the body that fight off infection. In general, breastfed babies have fewer health problems than babies who don’t breastfeed.
  • Has fatty acids, like DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), that may help your baby’s brain and eyes develop. It also may reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Is easy for your baby to digest. A breastfed baby may have less gas and belly pain than a baby who is given formula.
  • Changes as your baby grow, so he gets exactly what he needs at the right time. For the first few days after your baby is born, your breasts make colostrum. This is a thick, yellowish form of breast milk. Colostrum has nutrients and antibodies that your baby needs in the first few days of life. In 3 to 4 days, the colostrum gradually changes to breast milk.

For you, breastfeeding:

  • Increases the amount of a hormone in your body called oxytocin. Oxytocin causes the uterus to contract. These contractions help your uterus go back to the size it was before pregnancy. They also help you stop bleeding after giving birth.
  • Helps reduce stress. The hormones your body releases can help you relax and bond with your baby.
  • May help lower your risk for diabetes, breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
  • Burns extra calories (up to 500 a day). This can help you return to your pre-pregnancy weight in a gradual and healthy way.

Recently, you may have heard in the news about the U.S. delegation’s opposition to a resolution for promoting breastfeeding at the World Health Assembly. March of Dimes released the following statement from President Stacey D. Stewart:

“March of Dimes is appalled to learn of the U.S. delegation’s opposition to a resolution for promoting breastfeeding, at the World Health Assembly this spring. As a leading U.S. health organization that also maintains official relations with the World Health Organization, we can attest to the global scientific consensus that breastmilk is the healthiest option for babies and young children. It is unconscionable that any government would seek to hinder access to the most basic nutrition for children around the globe by opposing the passage of such a resolution for improving the health and survival of babies globally.”

“March of Dimes calls on the Administration to immediately abandon their opposition to this resolution and instead to champion breastfeeding and access to breast milk for all infants and young children everywhere.”

Visit marchofdimes.org for more information.

Is your baby sleeping safely?

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

Did you know that each year there are about 3,500 sleep-related deaths among babies in the U.S.? Causes include sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), accidental suffocation, and deaths from unknown causes.

After the “Back to Sleep” safe sleep campaign was introduced in the 1990s, the number of sleep-related deaths were greatly reduced.  But since the late 1990s the decline has slowed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report that looked at safe sleeping practices. They found that:

  • About 1 in 5 mothers (21.6%) placed their baby on their side or stomach to sleep.
  • More than half of mothers (61.4%) reported any bed sharing with their baby.
  • 2 in 5 mothers (38.5%) reported using any soft bedding in the baby’s sleep area

How can you keep your baby safe when you put her to sleep?

The best place for your baby to sleep is in a bassinet or crib. If you have multiples (twins, triplets or more), put each baby in his own bassinet or crib. Here’s what else you can do to make sure your baby is sleeping in a safe place:

  • Place your baby on her back at all sleep times until she’s 1 year old – this includes naps and at night.
  • Use a firm sleep surface, such as a safety-approved mattress and crib.
  • Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area. This includes blankets, pillows, bumper pads, and soft toys.
  • Share a room with your baby, but not the same bed.

And remember that while you may know about how to create a safe sleep environment for your baby, other people may not. Grandparents, babysitters, and anyone else who may take care of your baby should be made aware of the importance of safe sleep.

Sleep soundly knowing your baby is sleeping safely

Monday, April 17th, 2017

back to sleepNewborns sleep a lot, about 16 hours a day. It’s safe to say that sleeping is a big part of your baby’s life. So as your baby drifts off, dreaming of your cuddles, be sure she’s sleeping safely. Safe sleep can help protect your baby from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

Here are some tips:

  • Back to sleep: always put your baby to sleep on her back on a flat surface.
  • Share a room with your baby but don’t share a bed. Make sure your baby has her own crib or bassinet to sleep in.
  • Besides your baby, the bassinet or crib should be empty. Crib bumpers, loose bedding, toys and stuffed animals can be dangerous and lead to suffocation.
  • After you and your baby have established breastfeeding (around 4 weeks) give your baby a pacifier for naps and at bedtime. Pacifiers may help protect against SIDS. If your baby doesn’t want a pacifier, don’t force it. If the pacifier falls out while your baby is sleeping, that’s OK.
  • Thinking of a cardiorespiratory monitor? These monitors track a baby’s heart rate and breathing, and in rare cases a baby may need this kind of monitor for medical problems. But there is no evidence these monitors help reduce the risk of SIDS in healthy babies.
  • Dress your baby in light sleep clothes. A blanket sleeper, a kind of clothing just for sleeping, can help keep your baby warm without covering his face or head. If your baby is sweating or her chest feels hot, she may be overheated.

If you are worried about your baby’s sleep, talk to her health care provider.

Have questions? Email or text us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

U.S. study shows fewer babies are dying in their first year of life

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

The death of a baby before his or her first birthday is called infant mortality. A new report released by the CDC shows that the infant mortality rate in the U.S. dropped 15% from 2005 to 2014. In kangaroo-care-242005 the rate was 6.86 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. In 2014, the rate dropped to 5.82 deaths per 1,000 live births.

While the study did not look at the underlying causes of the decline, it did report valuable information:

  • Infant mortality rates declined in 33 states and the District of Columbia. The other 17 states saw no significant changes.
  • Declines were seen in some of the leading causes of infant death including birth defects (11% decline), preterm birth and low birthweight (8% decline), and maternal complications (7% decline).
  • The rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) declined by 29%.
  • Infant mortality rates declined for all races, except American Indian or Alaska Natives.
  • Infants born to non-Hispanic black women continue to have an infant mortality rate more than double that of non-Hispanic white women.

“On the surface, this seems like good news. But it is far from time to celebrate,” said Dr. Paul Jarris, chief medical officer for the March of Dimes. “What is concerning, though, is that the inequities between non-Hispanic blacks and American Indians and the Caucasian population have persisted.” Dr. Jarris adds, “This report highlights the need to strengthen programs that serve low income and at-risk communities, especially those with the highest infant mortality rates.”

The infant mortality rate is one of the indicators that is often used to measure the health and well-being of a nation, because factors affecting the health of entire populations can also impact the mortality rate of infants.

What can you do?

Having a healthy pregnancy may increase the chance of having a healthy baby. Here are some things you can do before and during pregnancy:

Have questions? Text or email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Smoking increases the chance of premature birth

Friday, November 18th, 2016

cigarette-buttsAlthough many people know that smoking during pregnancy can cause problems, 10% of pregnant women reported smoking during the last 3 months of pregnancy. When you smoke during pregnancy, your baby is exposed to dangerous chemicals like nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar. These chemicals can lessen the amount of oxygen that your baby gets. This can slow your baby’s growth before birth and can damage your baby’s heart, lungs and brain.

If you smoke during pregnancy, you’re more likely to have:

If you smoke during pregnancy, your baby is more likely to:

Secondhand and thirdhand smoke are also bad for your baby’s health. Being around secondhand smoke during pregnancy can cause your baby to be born with low birthweight.  Babies who are around secondhand smoke are more likely than babies who aren’t to have health problems, like pneumonia, ear infections and breathing problems, such as asthma, bronchitis and lung problems. There are also at an increased risk of SIDS.

If you quit smoking during pregnancy, you and your baby immediately benefit. According to the CDC, here’s how:

  • Your baby will get more oxygen, even after just one day of not smoking.
  • There is less risk that your baby will be born too early.
  • There is a better chance that your baby will come home from the hospital with you.
  • You will be less likely to develop heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, chronic lung disease, and other smoke-related diseases.
  • You will be more likely to live to know your grandchildren.
  • You will have more energy and breathe more easily.
  • Your clothes, hair, and home will smell better.
  • Your food will taste better.
  • You will have more money that you can spend on other things.
  • You will feel good about what you have done for yourself and your baby.

So make a plan to quit today. Need help? Check out these resources:

Have questions? Text or email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Safe sleep: room share, don’t bed share

Friday, October 28th, 2016

cropped sleeping babyIn an update to their safe sleep guidelines, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that infants should sleep in the same room, but not the same bed, as their parents ideally for the first year of life, but for at least the first 6 months. Evidence suggests that sleeping in the parents’ room but on a separate sleep surface decreases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by as much as 50%. In addition, this sleeping arrangement is most likely to prevent suffocation, strangulation, and entrapment that may occur when the infant is sleeping in the adult bed. The AAP’s safe sleep recommendations include:

Back to sleep for every sleep. Your baby should be put on his back every time, by every caregiver until he is 1 year old. Side sleeping is not safe and is not advised. Premature babies should be placed on their backs to sleep as soon as possible. The AAP states, “Preterm infants are at increased risk of SIDS, and the association between prone [stomach] sleep position and SIDS among low birth weight and preterm infants is equal to, or perhaps even stronger than, the association among those born at term.”

Use a firm sleep surface, such as a crib mattress covered with a tightly fitted sheet. Use only the mattress made for your baby’s crib. The mattress should fit snugly in the crib so there are no spaces between the mattress and the crib frame. The mattress shape should stay firm even when covered with a tightly fitted sheet or mattress cover. Don’t let your baby sleep in his carrier, sling, car seat or stroller. Babies who sleep in these items can suffocate. If your baby falls asleep in one of them, take her out and put her in her crib as soon as you can.

Babies should sleep in the parents’ room but on a separate sleep-surface. Parents should not bed-share. Bed-sharing is the most common cause of death in babies younger than 3 months old. Keep your baby’s crib close to your bed so your baby is nearby during the night. Share your bedroom with your baby but not your bed.

Breastfeeding is recommended. Breastfeeding is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS.

Keep soft objects and loose bedding away from the sleep area. Crib bumpers, pillows, blankets, and toys in the crib put your baby in danger of getting trapped, strangled or of suffocating.

Offer your baby a pacifier at nap time and bedtime. It is not clear why, but studies show that pacifiers protect your baby from SIDS. This is true even if the pacifier falls out of the baby’s mouth. However, don’t hang the pacifier around your baby’s neck or attach the pacifier to your baby’s clothing or a stuffed animal.

Avoid smoke exposure, alcohol, and illicit drugs during pregnancy and after birth. Babies who are around secondhand smoke are more likely than babies who aren’t to die of SIDS. And there is an increased risk of SIDS with maternal use of alcohol or illicit drugs.

Avoid overheating and head coverings. It is difficult to provide specific room temperature guidelines but in general, dress your baby appropriately for the environment. A blanket sleeper can keep your baby warm without covering his head or face.

Avoid the use of sleep positioners, wedges, or other devices that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS. Don’t use home cardiorespiratory monitors as a way to reduce the risk of SIDS. These monitors track a baby’s heart rate and breathing. Some babies need this kind of monitor because of medical problems, but this is rare. There’s no evidence that the monitors help reduce the risk of SIDS in healthy babies.

Give your baby supervised tummy-time while he is awake. Babies need to develop their neck, shoulder and arm muscles and tummy time helps. You can find some tummy time activities here.

It is important that all people who will care for your baby know these guidelines and follow them to keep your baby safe while he sleeps.

Have questions? Text or email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

What all caregivers need to know about safe sleep for babies

Friday, September 9th, 2016

Sleep is important for your baby’s health. It is also important to make sure that your baby’s sleeping environment is safe. Safe sleep can help protect your baby from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other dangers.

While you may know about how to create a safe sleep environment, other people caring for your baby may not. Grandparents, babysitters, and anyone else who may take care of your baby should be made aware of the importance of safe sleep.

Here is a short video that reviews the basics of safe sleep for caregivers, courtesy of the NIH’s Safe to Sleep® campaign:

Have questions? Email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Avoid a tragedy – learn safe sleep strategies

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Every so often, we hear a tragic story from a new parent. Last week, a three week old baby died of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). This post is in memory of that baby, and our hearts go out to the family.

It is important for parents and caregivers to know safe sleep strategies. Please help us get the word out: ALWAYS, put your baby to sleep on her back, in a crib without bumpers, blankets, stuffed toys or loose bedding.

Back to Sleep and Tummy to Play is an easy way to remember that all healthy babies should be put to sleep on their backs every time until their first birthday. Do not put your baby to sleep on her side, either. Most babies will roll over both ways by the end of the 7th month, but always start them out going to sleep on their backs. You can give your baby tummy time to help strengthen her back muscles when she is awake and you are watching her.

About 3,500 infants (less than one year of age) die suddenly and unexpectedly each year in the United States, according to the CDC. SIDS is the leading cause of death in babies between 1 month and 1 year old. Most SIDS cases happen in babies between 2 and 4 months old. We don’t know what causes SIDS, but certain things can put babies at higher risk:

  • Bed sharing – do not sleep in the same bed as your baby. Sleeping in the same room is suggested, just not the same bed. Bed sharing is the biggest risk factor for SIDS in babies under 4 months of age.
  • Sofa or couch sleeping – do not let your baby sleep on the couch or soft surfaces, including pillows. Nearly 13 percent of infant sleeping deaths are sofa-related.
  • Wearing too many clothes or sleeping in a room that is too hot.
  • Sleeping on her tummy or side.

Read more about safe sleep, mom and baby care and other tips for reducing the risk of SIDS.

Updated Sept. 2015