October is SIDS Awareness Month, so it’s a great time to review SIDS, and how we can provide a safe sleeping environment for our children and the children we care for.

What is SIDS?
SIDS is the sudden death of an infant under one year of age which remains unexplained after full investigation, autopsy and review of case history.  Unfortunately we do not fully understand the causes of SIDS, but research has identified certain risk factors associated with SIDS.

Reducing the Risk of SIDS
Here are a list of ways that you can provide a safe sleeping environment for your children and reduce the risk of SIDS:

Follow the ABCs of Safe Sleep

ABCs of Safe SleepAlone – on a separate sleeping surface from other people or pets, without blankets, pillows, bumper pads, toys, or other soft items.

on their Back – not on their side or tummy.  If you do this right from birth, your baby will get very used to sleeping on their back.

in their Crib – not on an adult bed, water-bed, cushion, arm chair, sofa or other soft bedding.

Ensure the Baby’s Environment is Smoke Free
Having baby sleep in a smoking environment has shown to increase the risk of SIDS.  If members of the family or your guests smoke, ask them to do it outside.

Breastfeed Your Baby
Breastfeeding has shown to provide some protection against SIDS. If you are feeding your child in your adult bed, return them to their own sleeping surface once they are finished eating.

Ensure Baby’s Crib is Safe
Ensure your baby’s crib or bassinet is assembled properly, in good condition, and follows the Health Canada safety standards.  The mattress should be firm and flat, with a properly fitted crib sheet.  Ensure the mattress fits the crib properly, with no gaps between the mattress and the rails.

Cool Temperature
Keep the room a cool, comfortable temperature, and ensure baby’s head is uncovered.  Overheating is a risk factor for SIDS.