How can I protect my baby from SIDS? Sleep

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newborn baby sleeping
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There's no doubt about it -- the thought of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) scares every new parent. Find out what experts recommend and what other moms do to lower their babies' risk of SIDS.

Always Put Baby to Sleep on Her Back

"Young babies who can't yet roll over on their own should always be put to sleep on their back on a comfortable, but firm, mattress. Refrain from putting any blankets, pillows, or other objects in the crib or bassinet. Talk with your pediatrician about other risk factors, such as a family history of SIDS, or cardiac, respiratory, or neurological conditions, which can increase risk." -- Daniel Lewin, PhD, psychologist and associate director of sleep medicine at Children's National Health...

"Young babies who can't yet roll over on their own should always be put to sleep on their back on a comfortable, but firm, mattress. Refrain from putting any blankets, pillows, or other objects in the crib or bassinet. Talk with your pediatrician about other risk factors, such as a family history of SIDS, or cardiac, respiratory, or neurological conditions, which can increase risk." -- Daniel Lewin, PhD, psychologist and associate director of sleep medicine at Children's National Health System, Washington, DC

Be Wary of Co-Sleeping

"If parents want their child to sleep in their bedroom, it is best for a child (up to age 1) to sleep in a safe bassinet, crib, or co-sleeper instead of in their parents' bed. If you have questions about your child's individual care, contact your pediatrician." -- Daniel Lewin, PhD, psychologist and associate director of sleep medicine at Children's National Health System in Washington, DC

Dress Baby Carefully

"Instead of loose blankets, use a swaddle for a baby who still has a startle reflex and choose a sleep sack or wearable blanket for an older baby. These wearable items will keep them safe and cozy. The optimal temperature for sleep is somewhere in between 65 to 70 degrees, depending on how the child is clothed. Studies show that allowing children to overheat can cause them to enter a deep sleep that's difficult to arouse from. We don't want to dress babies too warmly and never want to cover...

"Instead of loose blankets, use a swaddle for a baby who still has a startle reflex and choose a sleep sack or wearable blanket for an older baby. These wearable items will keep them safe and cozy. The optimal temperature for sleep is somewhere in between 65 to 70 degrees, depending on how the child is clothed. Studies show that allowing children to overheat can cause them to enter a deep sleep that's difficult to arouse from. We don't want to dress babies too warmly and never want to cover their heads. According to the Safe to Sleep Campaign, SIDS risk is higher for infants who sleep with their heads covered than for infants who sleep with their heads uncovered." -- Lauren Stauffer, Family Sleep Institute certified pediatric sleep consultant, owner of Rested Baby

Take Extra Precautions

"They say don't put bumpers, pillows, blankets, sleep toys, or stuffed animals in baby's crib ever -- not just at bedtime. I took this one step further by putting my daughter in a creeper (aka onesie) and a sleep gown that covers her hands."

Share Concerns With Your Doc

"All you can really do is follow the safety guidelines for preventing SIDS and reassure yourself that it's rare. If you're still feeling overwhelmed, talk to your doctor. Mine had a lot of suggestions that helped."

Try a Pacifier

"All the information we received when our first daughter was born said pacifiers help reduce the chances of SIDS. We've used one for all our kids."

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.