Learning to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Each year, nearly 2,000 children under the age of 1-year-old die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 9:50 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Each year, nearly 2,000 children under the age of 1-year-old die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). This is when an unexplained death of an infant happens, typically during sleep.

It’s unknown what exactly causes SIDS, but there’s many things you can do to help prevent sleep related deaths of an infant. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome has been on a downward trend in the U.S. since the 1990s after campaigns brought awareness to it. However, health experts said that sleep related deaths are still problematic.

“A lot of times, the kids will be in an unsafe sleeping environment and the mouth and face will get covered up and they can’t move enough and they basically suffocate,” Aspirus Wausau Hospital Pediatrician Dr. Jason Chan said.

Dr. Chan said the best way to prevent SIDS is to place infants on their backs in a crib or bassinet. He said to not have any lose articles like blankets, pillows or stuffed animals, these can all cause suffocation.

“These are simple steps that you can take that keeps our kids safe,” Chan said. “There’s no 100% guarantee, but the more we can do all these little things, the better off the kids are.”

Chan also said parents sleeping with their infants can be dangerous. October is SIDS awareness month.

According to the CDC, 37% of infant sleep related deaths were caused by SIDS in 2019, equaling about 1,250 nationwide.

“I think life is very busy and I think especially as we’re navigating the pandemic there are so many stressors placed on families and parents, especially those of young children,” Childcaring Pre-Licensing Technical Consultant and Certifier Gayle Schiszik said.

While some parents may forget about SIDS, Schiszik said Wisconsin daycares are required to follow procedures that reduce these deaths.

“When we’re talking about something as serious as the life of a child under the age of one, we really want to do everything that we can to minimize any sort of potential risk,” she said.

Chan also said breastfeeding and using a pacifier can help reduce the risk of SIDS. Follow this link for online training and information about safe sleep for infants.

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