TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – October is SIDS awareness month. Sudden infant death syndrome is when a baby dies unexpectedly in their sleep.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, each year in the United States around 3,500 babies die of SIDS.
There are three types of sudden unexpected infant deaths:
- SIDS: The sudden death of an infant less than one-year-old where there’s no explanation after a full investigation and autopsy.
- Unknown cause: The sudden death of an infant less than one-year-old where there’s no explanation because of a missing piece of evidence in the investigation.
- Accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed: the sudden death of an infant less than one-year-old because of suffocation by soft bedding or being stuck.
“We do see patients come through our emergency room,” said registered nurse Jamiee Goodman. “It’s the middle of the night, Mom or Dad fell asleep on the couch and the baby is unresponsive. I mean it’s very tragic.”
Goodman is also the Director of Women’s and Children’s Services. She says it’s a reality no parent should ever have to go through.
“It’s exhausting to take care of a new baby. You’re up all hours of the night. So I think it becomes easy to sleep with that baby on you or sleep with that baby next to you but that’s really not safe for your baby and there’s a lot of risks for suffocation with that type of sleep,” says Goodman.
To prevent risks like suffocation, Union Hospital has implemented a safe sleep program. They provide all families a sleep sack to take home with their baby. They’re able to do this with a grant from the Union Health Foundation.
“The baby wants to feel snug and secure like it does in the womb so the sleep sack really simulates that type of environment and makes the baby feel comforted and swaddled at the same time, keeping it safe,” said Goodman.
The CDC recommends parents follow the “ABC”s of safe sleeping.
Babies should sleep Alone, on their Back, and in their Crib.
There shouldn’t be any pillows, loose blankets, bumper pads or stuffed animals around them.
“A sleeper and a blanket is plenty,” said Goodman. “All of those extra blankets can be a huge suffocation risk to the baby.”
These practices are all to prevent babies from dying of SIDS ensuring all babies can sleep safe and sound.
Union hospital offers assistance for families that don’t have cribs or a safe atmosphere for a baby to sleep.
If you or someone you know is interested in their outreach programs you can contact the labor and delivery here: http://www.myunionhospital.org/unionhospital/maternity-services-contact