Keeping Your Baby Safe: Ways To Prevent SIDS

One of the trickiest parts of our adoption process will be actually bringing our little girl home from the state she is born in. If you are adopting domestically, it is likely that your baby could be born in another state. When this happens you have to stay in the baby’s birth state until the birth state and your home state clears the baby for placement, otherwise known as a document called the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC).

Due to this process, you will likely need to spend anywhere from 7-21 days in an AirBNB or a hotel which makes this a difficult road when you are trying to create good sleeping habits and a routine for you and your little one. Once Richard and I were matched with our mother, the process of getting home was one of the very first things I began to think about. I asked myself a ton of questions like what to pack for the hotel, packing enough diapers, and doctors visits, and doing the car-seat the right way. But more than the rest, the first thing I looked at was answering the burning question of, “What will this baby sleep in?” knowing full well that we will likely be in a hotel room or AirBNB with no crib available to us. So I began to research.

The Research

As I began researching, I found multiple ways that people have handled this. Some used a Rock n Play, some people were simply using their car seat, some people took a Pack and Play. But for me, I wanted the safest and healthiest option available for our little girl. That is not to say any of these would be unsafe, but I think about myself sleeping semi-upright and the level of discomfort I would sustain, so I really didn’t want that for our little girl.

So I began reading about sleeping solutions and you would not believe the number of things I learned. Mostly about what is dangerous to infants while sleeping. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a real threat against the lives of our little ones.  In the US alone, there is around 3,500 sleep-related deaths every year. If I didn’t work in healthcare and had someone reach out to me about it, I’m not sure if I would have known about the risk factors of some of the most advertised and seemingly harmless products out there.

While I am not a physician nor profess to be I should say that if you do have concerns about the risk of SIDS in your family or what you do to decrease the risk, please be sure to contact your family physician. But for a few tips that I have learned, read on.

Causes and Risk Factors of SIDS

There are several causes of SIDS, some of them are physical such as low birth weight, some brain defects, and even some infections, which for the most part are out of your control. Mayo Clinic notes several risk factors for SIDS.

– Gender. Certain states have SIDS registries. From their research, boys are slightly more likely to die of SIDS than girls.
– Age. Infants are most vulnerable between the second and fourth months of life. This is often due to theirn increased movement.
– Race. For reasons that aren’t well-understood, non-white infants are more likely to die from SIDS.
– Family Background. Babies who’ve had siblings or cousins die of SIDS are at higher risk of SIDS.
– Second-hand smoke. Babies who live with smokers have a higher risk of SIDS.
– Being premature. Both being born early and having a low birth weight increase your baby’s chances of SIDS.

There are however a number of environmental causes that come in to play and there are several things you can do reduce the risks to your baby.

What You Can Do

  • Do not smoke in your home. As you just read, second-hand smoke really increases your babies risk. Keep the cigarettes away from your baby.
  • Do not sleep with your little one. As you can imagine, cuddling with your baby, even your comforter can create more and more risk. Let them sleep in their own bed.
  • Place your baby on a firm infant mattress. Yes, you don’t want it too soft and a firm mattress will allow your baby to sleep flat and breathe normally.
  • No tummy sleeping.  Be sure when you put your baby in his/her crib, they are on their back. Suffocation is easy when they don’t have the head muscles to move their head side-to-side.
  • Remove all bumpers, blankets, pillow and stuffed animals from your baby’s crib. Once they start moving around the crib, other fabric items can increase your risk.
  • Ensure the room your baby is sleeping in is not too warm. Instead of blankets or turning the heat up, swaddle you baby or use a sleep sack to keep your baby the perfect temperature.
  • Consider the baby sleeping in your room for a while. Having your baby sleep in your room (in their bassinet or crib) will only allow you to hear any issues.
  • Offer a pacifier without a strap or clip. We all know a pacifier can comfort a little one. Its okay to give them one just ensure its not clipped or attached to anything so that when it pops our of their mouth, it doesn’t wrap around them.

In the end, while this information in super helpful once the baby is home, I still needed a solution to our stay in another state. This is where  I consider my self lucky. I had another adoptive parent at my office tell me about a Snuggle Nest. While not a perfect solution, it does provide a little barrier to keep your baby a little safer.

All in all, talk to your doctor and do your research – you’ve got this.

One of Anthology’s regular contributors, Steve has a passion for travel, baking and his french bulldog Aiden.  He is also our Editor in Chief.  Love what you read? Read more work from Steve.

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