A new study on sudden infant death syndrome just might make your baby's bedtime easy, breezy.
OK, so you're already a nervous Nellie of a new parent. And what's at the top of the Newborn Worry List? SIDS. Sadly, sudden infant death syndrome affects about 2,500 babies a year, the most critical time being between 2 and 6 months of age. The causes of SIDS remain somewhat of a mystery, but fortunately, experts have isolated a few easy steps you can take to lower your baby's risk. And there's a simple household device that could save your baby's life: a fan.
Researchers at Kaiser Permanente found that using a fan in your baby's room while he snoozes may reduce the risk of SIDS by a whopping 72 percent. The theory? By circulating the air, it prevents your baby from re-breathing exhaled carbon dioxide. This is based on an older concept called the "stale-air hypothesis" that suggests that breathing old, stuffy air may contribute to SIDS during baby's sleep.
The study, published in October 2008, also found that the higher risk kids (those sleeping on their bellies or in hot rooms) had the most positive response to having a fan on hand. But before you break out the oscillator, you should know the tried-and-true ways to lower your bambino's risk of SIDS:
Back to Sleep.
It can't be said enough: Always
put your baby to sleep on his back, and that includes bedtime and naptimes. So make sure that everyone who cares for your baby (We're lookin' at you, Grandma!) is on board with the Back to Sleep program (Make it Mama's Rule #1). Since the government's NICHD's Back to Sleep
campaign launched over a decade ago, SIDS cases have dropped by 50 percent the U.S. alone.
Bundle Under. Go easy on bundling up your baby with heavy layers and blankets, and make sure your little one's room isn't too hot. Between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. A baby who is overheated is at greater risk of SIDS, so that fan might come in handy, especially heading into the winter months, (Think Goldilocks: juuuust right.)
Lose the Frills.
All that crib bedding is adorable, for sure, but your baby doesn't need it. Kick your bumpers, quilts and pillows to the curb. Use a tight swaddle
or a sleep sack
in lieu of a blanket. Relegate the stuffed animal brigade to the floor.
Don't Smoke. Babies who are exposed to secondhand smoke have a much higher risk of SIDS, so never, ever let anyone light up around your wee one. (Make it Mama's Rule #2.)
Firm It Up. No, not your abs (though it couldn't hurt, postbaby), but we're talking about your baby's mattress. Babies who sleep on hard surfaces have a lower risk of SIDS.
Break Out the Boob. Babies who breastfeed have a lower risk of SIDS for a myriad reasons, such as fewer instances of respiratory infections (All of Mommy's yummy antibodies!).
Use a Binkie. Once breastfeeding has been established, you can offer your baby a pacifier when he snoozes. There's a link between pacifier use and lower incidences of SIDS.
Ditch Inspector Gadget. Don't spend your precious pennies on products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS. Most of them are bogus and haven't been tested for safety.
Get the Fan Out. As the new study suggests, put a fan in the nursery to keep the air aflowin' while baby sleeps!
In the meantime, rest assured that researchers are working their scientific butts off to find the cause of SIDS. Hopefully, that'll help you sleep a little better at night.report abuse