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  • Writer's pictureDr. Nilong Vyas

Safe Sleeping Practices for Reducing the Risk of SIDS

Baby sleeping on back

In this article:

  • What does the latest research on SIDS tell us about risk factors and which babies are most at risk of SIDS?

  • What can parents do to reduce the risk of SIDS?

  • Do pacifiers really reduce the risk?

We still have yet to identify an exact reason or test to diagnose infants who may eventually succumb to SIDS. The babies that are at the highest risk of SIDS are those where there is not a designated safe sleep environment for the infant. Often parents don't intend to co-sleep but end up in that situation accidentally when mom falls asleep with the baby while nursing or after a bottle feed.

Creating a secure sleeping environment for the baby:

  • set the alarm for 20 minutes at the start of a feeding session. This will guarantee that the parent wakes up if they doze off

  • Place the baby in a bassinet or crib (Not sure what a safe sleep environment looks like? Check out this page for details.)

Infants at the most significant risk for SIDS are:

  • those residing in homes with second-hand smoke exposure

  • those who co-sleep

  • those still in their developmental stage during the first three months post-birth (commonly called the fourth trimester).

Using a pacifier can help prevent SIDS because if a baby is sucking on it, their airway is open and protected.

  • Wait to use a pacifier until breastfeeding is established for at least a month.

  • However, the first month can be the hardest for a parent, so if using a pacifier helps prevent the child from falling asleep at the breast and in the mother's arms, rather than falling asleep in a safer sleep environment, it is advisable to use it.

Focus on ensuring Mom has support from friends and family in the first three months post-partum will help decrease SIDS

  • When proper support is provided to the mother, the probability of her becoming overly exhausted and committing errors in maintaining safe sleep practices will significantly decrease, ultimately reducing SIDS occurrences.


A good night's sleep is just a click away!


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