In one of our previous articles, we have stressed the importance of sleep to your growing baby. However, even here, there are dangers that you might not be aware of. In this article, we will take a closer look at these dangers and how you can protect your child from them.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
One of the most significant dangers that you have to watch out for when your baby is sleeping is the so-called Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS. As the name implies, SIDS happen when a child suddenly dies without any apparent cause. The condition is considered as the leading cause of death among children between one month and a year old, with around 2300 cases reported in the United States each year.
One thing that you need to note of is that SIDS is not exactly a single disease or condition. Rather, it is simply a diagnosis that doctors give in cases where the cause of death cannot be discerned from the baby’s medical history. This is what makes it very dangerous, as it can occur without prior signs.
Due to its prevalence, a lot of studies have been conducted to determine possible causes of the condition. According to researchers, the most likely causes could be an abnormal heart. They also said that certain stressors like sleeping tummy down and using soft bedding could also be linked to the case.
So, who’s at risk?
One of the factors determined to significantly affect the susceptibility of a baby to SIDS is the birth condition. In particular, babies born prematurely have a high risk of getting the condition. This is mainly due to the low birth weight, as well as incomplete development. It has also been determined that mothers who gave birth before they turned 20 are more likely to have babies afflicted by SIDS.
The number of children a mother has can also determine the likelihood that some of them will be afflicted with SIDS. The risk actually increases with each child born to the family. Also, birth spacing matters, with children born close apart have higher risks.
Other dangers you have to watch out for
Another danger that you have to watch out for when your baby is sleeping is accidental asphyxiation. This occurs when your child’s airway is blocked during his sleep. Common causes are objects that fall onto and cover his face, as well as getting strangled with the blanket or other stray items.
And while not quite as life threatening as the ones above (though there is still that risk), falls from the bed or cot are also something that you have to watch out for. Here, broken and dislocated bones, as well as bruises, are some of the most common injuries that you will deal with.
Safeguarding your child against SIDS
As have been pointed out earlier, since there is no exact known cause of SIDS, there is also no guaranteed way of preventing it. However, you can lower the risks by following some essential precautions.
One of the best ways to do this is by making sure that your child is in a proper sleeping position. In this case, he should be laying on his back instead of sleeping on his tummy. Also, make sure that he is not lying at his side, as he could roll over onto his tummy.
It is also essential that the cot is free from any clutter like toys, pillows, and blankets. A simple firm and flat mattress will do. In case your child gets chilly, you can dress him in warmer clothing instead of wrapping him in a blanket.
Outside of the crib, you would want to avoid letting your child sleep for prolonged periods in a car seat, stroller, swing, or infant carrier. This is because the sleeping position will cause his head to roll forward, which can lead to suffocation. If your child does fall asleep in these items, transfer him to a playard or crib where he can lie on his back.
During your baby’s first few months, it would best for you to put him on a separate cot or crib when sleeping, instead of having him by your side. This is to lessen the risk of you accidentally smothering him with your arms or legs. You can keep your little one within reach by having the cot or crib beside the bed and at the same height to it.
It is also important that the cot you are using is sturdy and won’t easily buckle down when in use. Also, make sure that it is properly assembled and locked into place. Ensure that there is no clutter when you put your baby to bed.
Finally, it is important for you to closely monitor your little one from time to time during his sleep. You and another person can take turns in monitoring your young one as he sleeps. Be sure that the other monitor knows well how to handle the little one when he is asleep.