Wednesday, 29 September 2010

SIDS: Statistics and Advice

Timothy Bolger
September 21st, 2010
Nassau County health officials released a report Tuesday attributing 10 of 29 infant fatalities in the county since January 2009 to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and offered recommendations for new parents to prevent similar tragedies.
The independent report was conducted by the Nassau County Child Fatality Review Team (NCCFRT), which was formed in 2008 to investigate otherwise unexpected or unexplained deaths of county residents younger than 17 years old.
“Every death of a child is a tragic event and our goal is to prevent these deaths,” said Nassau County Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Maria Torroella Carney at the agency’s Uniondale headquarters. Behind the podium, a bright orange poster read: Baby Safety Begins With You, referring to parents of newborns. 
Out of the 10 unexplained or unexpected deaths, ages ranged from 9 days to 5 months old. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called SIDS the third leading cause of death nationally in children less than one year old and is often found to result from unsafe sleeping practices, such as parents sharing beds with babies.
“The safest place for an infant to sleep is alone,” said Julia Weiser-Shlefstein of the Nassau County Department of Health, adding that babies should sleep “on his or her back, in a safety approved crib with nothing else in the crib. No pillows, no blankets, no quilts, no comforters, no sheep skins, no stuffed toys or any other soft objects or loose bedding.”
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 20 percent of SIDS deaths occur while the infant isn’t with a parent. 
“Every baby deserves a safe place to sleep,” Weiser-Shlefstein said. “What is important to stress that deaths due to accidental suffocation and strangulation are potentially preventable.” 
Officials offered the following recommendations, which is in brochures the NCCFRT has mailed to parents with newborn babies, pediatricians and daycare centers:
-Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night.
-Place your baby on a firm sleep surface.
-Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep.
-Do not allow smoking around your baby.
-Keep your baby’s sleep area close to, but separate from where you and other sleep.
-Think about using a clean, dry pacifier when placing the infant down to sleep.
-Do not let your baby overheat during sleep.
-Avoid products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS.
-Do not use home monitors to reduce the risk of SIDS.
-Reduce the chance that flat spots will develop on your baby’s head.

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