What comes to your mind when you hear the term ‘SIDS’? Well, SIDS is short for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. What this only means the unexplained death of a healthy child less than a year old? It is also given the name ‘crib death’ because many children lose their lives when asleep; however, it may also occur when the child is awake.

Although SIDS’s causes are unknown, mothers are always advised to take precautions when putting their children to sleep, feeding them, or having them playing about. Don’t get me wrong, I am not telling you to go all hygiene-freak about your child, but rather, I am telling you to be more observant, take note of any irregularities and most of all make your motherly instincts your best friend. 

Despite its lack of causes, SIDS has some distinct triggers that if taken note of, can go a long way in saving the lives of many children across the globe. One of the known triggers is smoke or alcohol fumes. Children are very sensitive and when these fumes come into contact with the child’s air the oxygen supply may be cut and lead to death. A way to go around this is ensuring if either you or your partner smoke or takes alcohol, you do not sleep near the child and if you have to, provide enough ventilation around your child’s sleeping area.

Prematurely born babies always have a soft spot in a mother’s eyes; these children tend to be tiny bodied, light in weight and their immune system quite unpredictable. For this reason, SIDS is more prone in these children than in full-term babies. If your child is premature, do take extra caution and visit the doctor regularly to ensure your baby stays healthy.

Irregular temperature is another trigger. When it is too hot or too cold, your child has difficulty sleeping because he has trouble breathing. Ensure that the room the baby is in is at room temperature. Do not falter to buy a thermostat. If you cannot afford one, its fine, just use the old-school method of adjusting the windows. Albeit, you should ensure that you adjust the windows again if the weather patterns change.

The bad sleeping position is another trigger that many people take for granted. How your child sleeps can go a long way in ensuring that they have a couple more years with you. Over the years we heard recommendations of placing the children on their tummies while they sleep. Nowadays, we are recommended to place them on their backs. I will not tell you which is best for your child. As a mother, you are aware of your child’s favorite and most comfortable sleeping posture. Moreover, many of us raise our children the way our mothers raised and taught us too. Your mother could have placed you on our tummy and look how well you turned out. The important thing is that whatever position your child is in; always ensure that you monitor them as they sleep.

Obstruction during sleep may trigger SIDS. This is because when a child sleeps, and there are some obstacles like stuffed toys or crumpled beddings, the child’s oxygen levels are reduced, and after a while, they may suffocate and die. I am aware that many of us are fashion and decor enthusiasts when it comes to sprucing up a nursery. We want the finest things around the nursery and even on the child’s crib. Do not let go of this beautiful talent, just tone it down a notch until they get older...maybe a year and a half or so... If you must have the stuffed toys on his crib, then have a shelf around their bedside that you can use to place the stuffed toys when laying the child to bed. Order a better mattress if your child’s mattress is not firm, ensure that the beddings are neatly tucked and will not get crumpled as your child rolls around the crib. Monitor your child as they sleep. A baby monitor is great, but not all children can cry as they suffocate or when in any form of distress. You can give yourself about 20-minute intervals to check up on the children when they are asleep.

Breastfeeding is also important when trying to conquer SIDS. Breastfeeding has so many benefits not only for the child but the mothers as well. Breastfeeding is the time when a mother can bond with their child and have a chance to look at them, admire them and even notice differences in that child. When fighting SIDS, the benefit of breastfeeding is in increasing the child’s immune system. Many children are known to succumb to even the common cold when their immune systems are weak. Breastfeeding ensures that your child gets a boost in their immunity and can fight off small illnesses that could lead to their death.

However, caution should be taken when feeding and breastfeeding children. Many children have lost their lives when being fed. If you have a nanny, make it known to them that feeding time should be entirely feeding time, no distractions, have them feed the child slowly and ensure that the child is not rushed to reduce the risks of choking. If your child does choke, ensure that you have the EMTs on speed dial and equip yourself with first aid knowledge to save your child’s life.

I would like to echo the issue on monitoring your children. This should not only be done at bedtimes but during playtime, bath time and any other time you get with your child. When you notice anything off does not hesitate to inform the pediatrician.

Listen to your instincts ladies, that odd feeling you get when something is going is wrong....listen to it. It could be universe giving you a red light of something amiss.

I am glad I have educated you a bit of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Let’s spread the message and ensure that we save more children’s lives seeing that they are the future generation.