One of the biggest fears parents have across the board is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Also known as SIDS, it is the unexplained death of an infant under age one. It is so frightening because it is unpredictable – it has no warning and no cause. Parents take many safety precautions to keep their infants safe and try to prevent SIDS from happening. They put their baby to sleep on the back, they avoid smoking, they don't use soft bedding or crib bumpers, and definitely keep pillows out of the crib and bassinet. But, even, so there are some myths about SIDS that are keeping infants in danger.
Most parents who've had children in the last 20 years were educated on the the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health Human Development's (NIHCD) Safe to Sleep campaign (formerly known as the Back to Sleep campaign). Prior to that, parents regularly put their babies to sleep on their stomachs, covered them in blankets, used pillows in their cribs, and even smoked in the same room as them. It was up to the new generations to teach their parents and grandparents how to safely babysit their grandchildren.
I know that I, as well as many of my girlfriends, have come home to find that Grandma or Auntie put the baby down covered in blankets "because it was cold," or laid them on their tummies to nap "because your baby is getting a flat head."
Here are some myths about SIDS that it is time to leave behind.
Myth #1: Babies Who Sleep On Their Backs Can Choke If They Spit Up
According to the NICHD babies have a reflex to automatically cough up or swallow fluid that they spit up or vomit and keep their airways clear. Studies show no increase in the number of deaths from choking among babies who sleep on their backs.
Myth #2: Cribs Cause SIDS
SIDS was originally known as "crib death" which led some parents to believe that they could prevent it by not using a crib. According to the North Dakota Department of Health, the fact is that SIDS can happen anywhere.
Myth #3: There's A Link Between SIDS And Vaccines
Dr. David Mendez, a neonatologist at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, Florida told Huffington Post that there is absolutely no science behind the myth that SIDS is linked to vaccines. The NICHD reported that recent evidence even suggests that vaccines may actually protect babies against SIDS.
Myth #4: You Can Prevent SIDS
NICHD noted that you cannot prevent SIDS, but there are steps you can take to reduce your baby's risk of SIDS.
Myth #5: SIDS Can Occur At Any Age
SIDS is the unexplained death of a baby under one year of age, with the majority of deaths happening between two and four months of age. According to Primary Care Health Services (PCHS) the number of infants dying of SIDS dramatically drops after six months of age.
Myth #6: Only Caucasian Babies Die Of SIDS
Kids Health reported that African-American babies are twice as likely to die from SIDS, and Native American babies are three times more likely to die of SIDS than Caucasian babies.
Myth #7: Side Sleeping Is Just As Safe As Back Sleeping
A baby who is sleeping on his or side is more likely to roll out of the side position and end up face down in their bedding, according to the North Dakota Department of Health.