As the March for Science made perfectly clear, there are still plenty of Americans who are dedicated to knowing the truth — the unbiased, pure truth, of course. And as vaccines can save lives, so can doctor recommendations. Of course, everyone knows that babies shouldn't have a taste of that wine you're sipping, or go for an unsupervised dip in the pool, but there are some unexpected tidbits of advice that you might not know. And some of those tips might just save your baby's life. Here are the most recent SIDS recommendations from doctors, because you never know what could end up saving a life.
Obviously, the best way to prevent SIDS is to practice safe sleep habits with your baby, but understanding just what that means can prove to be just as tricky as anything. As the American Academy of Pediatrics reports, "approximately 3500 infants die annually in the United States from sleep-related infant deaths, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), ill-defined deaths, and accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed." And while suffocation, infections, trauma, and more can be the reason for many cases of Sudden Unexpected Death Symptom, "SIDS is a subcategory of SUID and is a cause assigned to infant deaths that cannot be explained after a thorough case investigation including autopsy, a scene investigation, and review of clinical history." Which means that there's no real diagnosis, and there's no one cause.
However, experts have long advised safe-sleep practices that could curb lingering numbers; The most basic way of ensuring this is to have the baby sleep alone, on its back, in a crib. As Dr. Rita Muthappa, the NICU Medical Director at Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital, advises, Baby Boxes, the new trend taking over hospitals around the United States, "are less expensive and as safe as using a bassinet or crib." They also promote safe sleeping habits at a lower cost.
Dr. Muthappa also advises against swaddling, especially tight swaddling, as neither helps prevent SIDS and can be more troubling for the infant than it is comforting (although if your little one prefers it, feel free to talk to your doctor and ask plenty of questions). Another new recommendation, from the AAP, is that babies should sleep in the same room as their parents, but not in the same bed until they're at least 1 year old.
Other pieces of advice include allowing babies to have pacifiers only after they've gotten used to breastfeeding, if you're breastfeeding. Research shows that pacifiers can serve as a useful tool to help babies get to sleep, and reduces the risk of SIDS, according to healthychildren.org. The Mayo Clinic also stands behind the use of pacifiers to reduce the risk of SIDS, although the reasoning is a bit muddled. However, one study points to the notion that having an infant suck on a pacifier decreases the chances that they'll ingest something else, or suffocate on a blanket.
From baby boxes to swaddling less restrictively, and everything in between, these new recommendations are sure to help new parents understand all they can do to prevent SIDS — and hopefully keep as many babies as safe and healthy as possible.