Sunday, January 30, 2011

Baby Blankets and SIDS

There are various factors when it comes to choosing baby’s bedding. Baby blankets should ensure the safety of the child and unlike adults your baby will not care what color the blanket or that it matches the room’s décor. Infants generally do not need a pillow or a heavy comforter until they are older due to the risk of suffocation. In today’s market you can purchase either the traditional baby blanket or opt for a wearable blanket otherwise known as a sleep sack. When purchasing either a blanket or sleep sack, make sure it is not very large or the baby might get entangled feeling uncomfortable or have trouble breathing. Also the material should be soft and smooth like 100% cotton, as well as washable.

What new information is available about baby blankets and SIDS? Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS studies found that the leading cause of death among infants aged 1-12 months have found overheating and suffocation to be among the top reasons babies have unexplained crib death. A 2009 report in the American Academy of Pediatrics states that soft bedding increases the risk of SIDS by five times and recommends against soft objects or loose bedding in the crib, the common culprit being baby blankets.

Today baby blankets and sleep sacks are designed to alleviate SIDS risk. To prevent overheating, baby blankets are much thinner than adult blankets. Sleep sacks are thin plus it also doesn’t cover the arms leaving the warmth to be provided by the baby’s pajamas. Sleep sacks are worn as outerwear fitting snuggly so the baby has little risk of becoming entangled during the night, allowing them to sleep easy. The AAP recommends if you use a baby blanket it is to be thin and tucked around the crib and they endorse the use of sleep sacks.

The Halo Innovations SleepSack Wearable Blanket Organic Cotton- Green/Blue Dots, Medium replaces loose blankets for safer sleep. It's the first and only wearable blanket endorsed by the SIDS Alliance and reduces the risk of rebreathing (the inhalation of carbon dioxide), which has been associated as a possible cause of sudden infant death syndrome. The Organic Cotton SleepSack Wearable Blanket is made of 100% organically-grown cotton that is free of chemicals, dyes and preservatives. The special collection was created with both safety and environmentalism in mind. This cotton is great for use in warmer temperatures. The size Small fits newborns to 6 months, 23" to 26" and 10 lbs. to 18 lbs.

Many experts and doctors believe that swaddling promotes sleep because it resembles the feeling in the womb and due to the sleep sack shape it doesn’t allow for swaddling. A study done by the Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School in 2007 found that swaddling is a risk factor for developing dysplasia of the hip. Parents have to determine the baby’s needs when deciding on a baby blanket or sleep sack when providing safety and a restful night sleep for their baby.

Other safety decisions parents need to make for the baby’s restful night sleep is their sleeping position. Numerous studies have found a higher incidence of SIDS among babies placed on their stomachs. Sleeping on their stomach puts pressure on the infant’s jaw narrowing the air passage way obstructing breathing. Another theory is that stomach sleeping can increase the risk of rebreathing or inhaling their own exhaled air, particularly if the infant is sleeping on a soft mattress, a memory foam mattress, large baby blanket, pillow or crib full of stuffed animals. The soft surface and other items placed in the bed could create a small enclosure around the baby’s mouth and trap exhaled air. As the baby breathes in its exhaled air the oxygen level drops and carbon dioxide accumulates. The lack of oxygen could contribute to SIDS.

Since the AAP's recommendation, the rate of SIDS has dropped by over 50%. Still, SIDS remains the leading cause of death in young infants, so it's important to keep reminding parents about the necessity of back sleeping.

In addition to placing healthy infants on their backs to sleep, the AAP suggests these measures to help reduce the risk of SIDS:

• Place your baby on a firm mattress to sleep, never on a pillow, waterbed, sheepskin, couch, chair, or other soft surface. To prevent rebreathing, do not put blankets, comforters, stuffed toys, or pillows near the baby.

• Make sure your baby does not get too warm while sleeping. Keep the room at a temperature that feels comfortable for an adult in a short-sleeve shirt. Some researchers suggest that a baby who gets too warm could go into a deeper sleep, making it more difficult to awaken.

• If your baby has GERD, be sure to follow your doctor's guidelines on feeding and sleep positions.

• Put your baby to sleep with a pacifier during the first year of life. If your baby rejects the pacifier, don't force it. Pacifiers have been linked with lower risk of SIDS. If you're breastfeeding, try to wait until after the baby is 1 month old so that breastfeeding can be established.

• While infants can be brought into a parent's bed for nursing or comforting, parents should return them to their cribs or bassinets when they're ready to sleep. It's a good idea to keep the cribs and bassinets in the room where parents' sleep. This has been linked with a lower risk of SIDS.

The content provided in Baby Blankets and SIDS is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.
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