October Marks Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month
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The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) recognizes October as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month. SIDS is defined as the sudden and unexpected death of an apparently healthy infant, whose death remains unexplained after an investigation.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the third leading cause of death for Mississippi infants one week to one year old and claimed the lives of 45 Mississippi infants in 2010.
Caregivers should follow these best practices to promote a safe sleeping environment to decrease their infant's risk of SIDS:
- Infants should be placed for sleep on their backs every sleep period, at night and for naps.
- A firm crib mattress, covered by a sheet, is the recommended sleeping surface.
- Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the crib: Pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, stuffed toys, and other soft objects should be kept out of an infant's sleeping environment.
- A separate but nearby sleeping environment is recommended, such as a separate crib in the parents' bedroom. Sleeping with your infant on a couch or bed is dangerous.
- If possible, give your baby only breast milk for the first six months. Breastfeeding is shown to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Do not allow your infant to overheat. The infant should be lightly clothed for sleep, and the bedroom temperature should be kept comfortable for a lightly clothed adult. Consider using a sleep sack or other type of sleeper instead of blankets to keep your baby warm and safe.
- Do not smoke while pregnant and never allow smoking around your infant.
- Avoiding an infant's exposure to second-hand smoke is advisable for numerous reasons in addition to lowering the risk of SIDS.
- Reduce the chance that flat spots develop on your infant's head by providing "Tummy Time" when your infant is awake and someone is watching.
Ensure that others caring for the infant (child care providers, relatives, friends and babysitters) are aware of these recommendations.
MSDH offers support services for families, professionals and communities, including community outreach activities to educate families about SIDS, and counseling and referral services for families who have experienced a SIDS death. Call the MSDH SIDS Outreach Program at 601-576-7619.
Press Contact: MSDH Office of Communications, (601) 576-7667
Note to media: After hours or during emergencies, call 1-866-HLTHY4U (1-866-458-4948)
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Last reviewed on Oct 13, 2011