October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness Month. In fact, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger officially declared it as such for the...
October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness Month. In fact, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger officially declared it as such for the state of California by signing a proclamation a few weeks ago. Much ado about nothing...perhaps another public figure looking for a little attention? Not even close. The American Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Institute notes that each year, approximately 2,500 babies die of SIDS in the United States alone. While the number of babies lost to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome has fallen by over half since 1983, 2,500 babies is a big number. And for those parents who lose their infants to SIDS, it is far more devastating than a statistic can capture. Furthermore, SIDS is the leading cause of death for children under one year old. The leading cause. So, what exactly is SIDS? Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the unexplained death of an infant during his or her sleep. While researchers believe that there are factors that put some babies at risk for SIDS, the cause is unknown. However, it is possible to take precautions to reduce your child's risk. Most importantly, according to Mayo Clinic, is that you place your baby on her back when she's sleeping. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend this. Furthermore, if someone else is caring for your baby, make sure she does the same. Mayo Clinic has several other suggestions, so be certain to read them. None of the recommendations are difficult and if following them reduces your baby's risk of SIDS, even just slightly, it goes without saying that your effort will not be wasted. I know that as a parent, I've spent a lot of time researching strollers (which one is best for walking or running?), high chairs (how can I choose one that looks great AND is easy to use?), cribs (any safety recalls? do I like the finish?) and other gear. And I certainly spent a whole lotta time shopping for all of that fun stuff. But do you know how much time I spent educating myself about SIDS? Yeah, none. My kiddos were almost eight months and ten months when they joined our family, so I assumed they were well beyond the age of being at risk for SIDS. And while they probably were -- most children who die of SIDS are between one month and six months of age -- they weren't totally out of the woods. You can bet I was one of those moms who checked on them all.the.time, but I hadn't properly educated myself about this risk, even if slight. There are several good sources of quick and easy information, such as Mayo Clinic's website. Educate yourself!

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