Talking about SUID is scary because the thought of something happening to our baby’s is something we don’t want to take the time to ponder. It’s just awful. But in order to keep our children safe it is something we need to talk about. Today I am going to be covering what SUID, who is at risk, how it happens and how we can lower the risks of SUID occuring. Helping families find sleep again is one of my favorite things to do, but what’s even more important is making sure all my families are sleeping SAFE! 

What is SUID?:

Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome (SUID) is the sudden and unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year old. 

Who is at risk for SUID?:

-SUID is more likely to affect a baby between the ages of 1-4 months old. 

-Babies that sleep on their stomachs or side.

Overheating while sleeping (too many layers, hot sleep environment, no circulated air). Most SUID cases occur during the colder months of the year. Parent’s think they should bundle up their baby in fear that they will get cold. THIS IS NOT NECESSARY!

-Loose items in the baby’s sleep environment.( pillows, blankets, stuffed animals)

-Mother’s who smoked during pregnancy. 

-Mother’s of babies who had little, late or no prenatal care.

Premature of low birthweight 

How does it happen?:

The cause of SUID is unknown, but researchers and doctors believe that SIDS is associated with problems in the baby’s ability to arouse from sleep and detect low levels of oxygen (this is why having a fan on and your child sleeping on the their back is very important), or build up of carbon dioxide in the blood. When babies sleep face down, they may re-breathe exhaled carbon dioxide. When carbon dioxide levels rise the body activates nerve cells in the brainstem, in which arouses the baby to wake up, turn their head and breathe faster to get more oxygen that they need. Babies that die from SUID fail to rouse. 

How can I lower the risks of SUID?: 

There are many ways that you can help reduce the risk of SUID from occurring. Below I am sharing how sleep environment set up, breastfeeding, room sharing and pacifier use can help reduce the risk of SUID.

Create a safe sleep environment. In 2018 there were about 1,300 deaths due to SIDS, about 800 of those deaths were due to suffocation or strangulation in the sleep environment. When parents are sleep deprived sometimes they will do anything that will help get their baby’s to sleep. This usually results in an unsafe sleep environment for the baby. Do not sacrifice your baby’s safety for your sleep. If this is you, PLEASE reach out to me! Let’s get you started on a plan, but PLEASE do not result to unsafe sleep for your baby if you are struggling. It’s just not worth it. 

Go through this checklist and make sure your baby is sleeping safe! Make adjustments to your baby’s sleep environment as needed. 

Your baby should have:

  • Firm mattress (you should not be able to leave an imprint of your hand when you press against the mattress) 
  • Flat Surface (surfaces that at are inclined above 10 degrees are prohibited for baby sleep by the CDC)
  • Baby’s sleep area is labeled a CRIB, BASSINET, or PACK N PLAY. (Rock N Play’s, Boppy’s, Dock-A-Tot’s, swings are not labeled as sleep areas and are NOT safe for sleep) 
  • Clear of blankets, pillows and stuffed animals. (You baby should not have any loose items in the crib until the age of 12 months old.)
  • Fitted Sheet ( The sheet on the baby’s mattress is tight and does not have any creases or raised fabric.) 
  • No Bumpers 
  • No gaps around the mattress. (The mattress is pressed against the crib bars.)
  • Baby is placed on their back for sleep. (If they roll onto their belly’s they are allowed to sleep on their stomach, but always lay your baby down first on their back.) 
  • Ceiling fan is on and the room is set at a cool temperature between 68-72 degrees. (Fans circulates good clean air to your baby which has been shown to help reduce the risk of SIDS.) 
  • Do not hang canopies of mobiles above your baby’s crib. (This items can fall on top of your baby in the middle of the night and produce a suffocation risk.) 
  • Do not overheat your baby with layers of clothes for sleep. (The rule of thumb is: what ever you are comfortable wearing add one more layer to your baby. Yes, swaddles or the sleep sacks count as a layer. 
  • Cover electrical cords with cord covers. (This keeps your baby safe from possible strangulation.)

Breastfeed. Breastfeeding for at least 6 months lowers the risk of SIDS.  Breastfeeding your baby can lower the risk of SIDS by 50%! 

-Breastmilk fights against infection 

-Breastmilk is kinder to tiny airways 

-Breastmilk reduces Reflux 

-Breastfed babies usual go shorter stretches of sleep waking more frequently for feedings rather then formula fed babies, which can be a protection agent in the first 4 months against SIDS.

Room-Sharing. (not co-sleeping)

-The AAP recommends that you should room-share for at least the first 6 months up to the whole first year of your baby’s life. 

-My recommendation is to room share however long you desire for your family. The largest threat for SIDS is in the first 4 months. After 4 months, babies truly sleep better in their own space. This decision is up to you! 

Use a Pacifier. (if possible) A new study has found that use of a pacifier during sleep reduced the chances of a baby suffering from Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome (SUID) by 90 percent.

Steer clear of products that say that claim to reduce SUID. The AAP warns that parents shouldn’t rely on cardiorespiratory monitors to prevent SIDS and suffocation. These monitors sometimes make parent’s feel as though they can put their baby in an unsafe sleep environment and know whether or not they begin to struggle to breathe with the monitor on them. This is not a good game plan. Do not rely on a device to reduce SIDS. Do the preventives above instead. 

Like I said at the beginning, this is not a fun topic to talk about but it is necessary in order to keep your baby safe. Take what you have learned to today and apply it. If your baby is not sleeping safe and you do not believe they can sleep safely PLEASE message me. I PROMISE it is possible! It will talk some work on your part, but it is SO WORTH IT! SLEEP SAFE!