October is SIDS Awareness Month
The number of Sudden Infant Deaths (SIDS), or Sudden Unexplained Infant Deaths (SUIDS), is on the rise again in Douglas County. There have been eight cases reported in Douglas County this year alone compared to nine cases in all of 2014, eight in 2013, six in 2012, and five in 2011. Safe sleep habits are essential if our community is going to change this trend.
“Research shows that babies sleep the safest on their backs in uncluttered cribs,” said Dr. Adi Pour, director of the Douglas County Health Department. “Accidental suffocation is a serious problem in this county and in this country.”
With October dedicated to SIDS Awareness, The Douglas County Health Department along with Project Harmony is taking this opportunity to remind expecting parents, new parents, and all infant care providers that adopting safe sleep habits is one of the most important things you can do for your child.
According to the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 3,500 SUID cases each year. Three commonly reported types of SUID cases are SIDS, unknown causes and accidental suffocation. Reports show the combined SUIDS rate going down, however accidental suffocation has consistently been going up since 1998.
Although SIDS/SUIDS diagnoses are largely inconclusive and unpredictable, statistics show that as many 90 percent of unexpected infant deaths are related to unsafe sleep practices.
“We understand how it happens,” says Project Harmony Pediatrician Dr. Suzanne Haney. “Parents genuinely intend to do the right thing. It is easy to fall asleep while lying next to or holding your child. We all need to help support parents making good decisions, knowing that risk is risk.”
So how do you lower you baby’s risk of SIDS/SUIDS? Here are some simple steps you can take:
- Always place your baby on his or her back for naps and nighttime sleep
- Use a firm sleep surface, such as a mattress in a safety approved crib, bassinet or portable play area
- Keep soft objects, toys, crib bumpers and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area
- Do not smoke or allow smoking around your baby
- Do not allow your baby to overheat
- Give your baby a pacifier for naps and nighttime sleep
- Breastfeed your baby to reduce the risk of SIDS/SUID
- It is okay to have your baby sleep in your room, but in a separate sleep area
For more information on how you can reduce the risk of SIDS/SUIDS, please download the Safe Sleep for Your Baby brochure and the Safe Sleeping poster. Both are available in English and Spanish. For parents who have experienced the loss of a child due to SIDS/SUIDS, please call the Douglas County Health Department at 402-444-7471.