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A Pediatrician Details Exactly How to Decrease Your Baby’s Risk of SIDS

A Pediatrician Details Exactly How to Decrease Your Baby’s Risk of SIDS

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A Pediatrician Details Exactly How to Decrease Your Baby’s Risk of SIDS

3,500 babies in the US alone die each year in their sleep, some as a result of unsafe sleeping conditions, and others from unknown causes. The latter is called SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and it affects children under a year old, primarily between two and four months of age. While there's no way to absolutely prevent it, Dr. Dania Rumbak, Head Pediatrician for Baby Doctor—an NYC pediatric urgent care house call service—has some tips for reducing your child’s risk.

Dangerous Sleeping Environments

NEVER put your baby to sleep in your bed. Pillows, sheets, and comforters can cause suffocation, or you can roll onto your baby in the night. Waterbeds and cushions are also unsafe for sleeping babies.

Safe Sleeping Environments

To decrease the risk of SIDS by 50%, put your baby to sleep in the same room as you until they reach a year old. Ensure their crib or bassinet meets current safety standards, or forego both for a baby box, which helped to bring the Finnish infant mortality rate down from 65 to only 2.8 deaths per thousand births.

The All-Important Sleeping Position

Always put your baby to sleep on their back. If they roll in the night, leave them; they have the strength to roll as needed. (A baby box, or “boxinet,” will keep them from rolling entirely.) Make sure your little one gets plenty of "tummy time" when awake to develop core muscles.

Crib Guidelines

If you do elect for your infant to sleep in a crib, they should sleep on a firm surface with a tight-fitting sheet. Do not place soft items like pillows, stuffed animals, or bumper pads in the crib before your child turns one. Avoid cribs with drop-side rails.

Risk Factors Beyond Sleep

The American Academy of Pediatrics has found that breastfed babies are at lower risk for SIDS, and that pacifiers can decrease risk of SIDS by as much as 90%. Conversely, smoking and exposing your baby to smoke and places where people smoke increases your child’s risk.

Don't be scared to swaddle your baby, but do stop swaddling once they begin to roll over, and don’t let your baby get too hot during sleep. Get as much skin-to-skin time with your infant as possible, especially in their first hour of life. Keep in mind that all of the above recommendations pertain to healthy infants, and that if your child has specific health concerns, you should ask your pediatrician which sleeping conditions are best.

For more information on SIDS, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics.


Dr. Dania Rumbak is Head Pediatrician, Chief Medical Officer, and Co-Founder of pediatric urgent care service Baby Doctor. She is a fully licensed and board-certified pediatrician, fellowship-trained in pediatric critical care medicine. A leader in her field, Dr. Dania is also an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Columbia University Children’s Hospital, and has published multiple works in pediatric medicine. She lives on New York’s Upper West Side with her husband and co-founder Shachar Golan.

1 comment

Apr 06, 2017 • Posted by Zoe Rumbak

Such useful and important information. Thanks Dania. Proud of your achievements lots of love

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