Carol Ash, M.D.
Director of Sleep Medicine
Meridian Health, Riverview Medical Center
Since the start of the “Back to Sleep” campaign, there has been a reduction in SIDS deaths by 50%.
SIDS however still remains the leading cause of death among infants.
With the success of the “Back to Sleep” campaign, other risks have become important factors, with bed sharing causing 38% of deaths and sleeping in adult beds alone causing another 45%.
Bed sharing with a parent who is a smoker or who uses drugs and alcohol has been known to increase the risk of SIDS.
For exhausted moms keeping the baby in the same bed to make breast feeding easier seems like a simple solution.
Research shows that there can be a fivefold increase in the risk of SIDS associated with bed-sharing in breast fed babies who were under three months old, had non-smoking parents and when the mother had not used drugs or alcohol. Adult bedding and mattresses are softer and can cause suffocation of an infant.
So while the “back to sleep campaign has proved to be a success, it is still important to make sure all new moms understand the multiple risk and take steps to keep their baby safe.
Tips to reduce SIDS risk:
•Always put your baby to sleep on their backs
•Invest in a comfortable bed side rocker to breast feed babies at night
•Never put your baby to bed in your bed or a sofa. Infant mattresses are firmer
•Avoid alcohol 3 hours prior to bedtime
•For the sake of your baby, don't smoke or take drugs