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OUR VIEW: National SIDS awareness month

There’s rightfully a lot of focus this month on Breast Cancer Awareness and other awareness days, but there’s one you might not know about in October.

This is also National SIDS Awareness Month. SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is one of the scariest parts about being a new parent. Each year in the United States about 3,500 babies die of sleep-related deaths.

That’s why you can’t get within 100 feet of a pediatrician office without hearing about safe sleep practices. Posters cover the wall at doctor’s offices and nurses in the maternity ward of the hospital talk to parents about safe-sleep.

For anyone who doesn’t know, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents placing babies on their backs for sleep. Babies that sleep on their backs are much less likely to die of SIDS than one on its stomach.

Oftentimes, babies die from SIDS due to a blanket or pillow in their crib, or from sleeping on a soft surface. 

Although it goes against everything we believe as adults, comfort isn’t the first concern when laying a child to sleep. Don’t get us wrong — of course, you want your baby to be as comfortable as possible, but babies do not need a pillow or blanket and using either could be deadly.

Babies should sleep on a firm, flat surface, and there shouldn’t be any stuffed animals in their crib or bassinet either. It’s recommended for parents to keep babies in the same room with them until at least six months, if not a year.

We’re sure there will be some people who read this who understandably point out that their children always slept on their stomachs or always had a blanket. If that’s the case and everything turned out OK, then great, but it, unfortunately, doesn’t always work out that way.

Thousands of babies this year are expected to die because of SIDS-related deaths. Do your part by sharing the message about safe-sleep practices.