Thursday, April 21, 2011

Baby Boys at Higher Risk for SIDS

For new parents, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) lurks in the backs of their minds until their children reach their first birthdays. A lack of answers is what makes SIDS so scary and what keeps researchers motivated to find these answers.

In 1997, the Back to Sleep Campaign was launched, encouraging parents to place their little ones on their backs to sleep. Since this campaign was started, the rate of SIDS has dropped by half. But there is still much to be learned about SIDS and researchers are now pointing toward gender.

About 60 percent of SIDS cases are baby boys. A new study published in the magazine Sleep suggests that infant boys are more easily roused while sleeping when they're 2 to 4 weeks old, prompting parents to place them on their stomachs to sleep easier and longer. However, it's this type of heavy sleeping that puts babies more at risk.

By the time male infants are 2 to 3 months, there is no significant difference between baby boys and girls. Researchers and pediatricians continue to educate parents on the importance of putting their infants on their backs to sleep. Medical experts in this field are always conducting studies, as they feel that the more information they have to educate parents, the more likely parents will be to cooperate.

Not only does sleeping on the belly cause a longer, deeper sleep that puts babies at risk, but studies indicate that babies aren't getting enough fresh oxygen when sleeping on their bellies. The oxygen is recycled and doesn't allow the baby's brain to be alerted that something isn't right.

For now, it's important for all parents to place their children on their backs to sleep. When your little one starts rolling over however, you don't have to worry about the sleeping position that he or she ends up in. And by the time your child reaches his or her first birthday, the risk of SIDS is gone.

Other ways to help decrease the risk is by putting your child to bed with a pacifier, turning on a fan or opening a window, breastfeeding and eliminating smoking and drinking.

Image c/o Officer

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