It’s been a long-held belief that safe sleeping is the main way to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is by providing the proper sleeping environment for your baby.
Though this is a vital part of the fight against SIDS, a recent study showed that other factors contribute to infant deaths due to SIDS, all of which have little to do with sleep environment.
This includes smoking and drinking during pregnancy, genetic factors, breastfeeding rates and the baby’s age.
Though sleep environment must be considered, it is not the only known risk factor.
According to a recent study by Dr. Richard Goldstein of Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, there are three main elements of SIDS: genetic predisposition, age, and sleeping environment.
Read: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: SIDS causes and tips for prevention
Genetic predisposition includes “environmental and developmental factors” such as smoking, drinking during pregnancy or if the baby was born prematurely.
All these make SIDS-related deaths a higher possibility.
Included in this category is breastfeeding, which has been proven to reduce the risk of SIDS.
The second element is the age of the baby. If a baby is under six months old, this makes them more prone to SIDS. As for the third element, sleep environment, this not only involves sleep position as well as crib beddings.
Read: Crib bumpers are causing more and more infant deaths, says new study
Dr. Goldstein concludes the study by saying, “If we are to further impact infant mortality rates and eliminate SIDS, focus on the sleep environment will continue to be important, but will likely be insufficient. These days, most infants diagnosed with SIDS are not found sleeping prone [on the belly].”
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