Sudden Infant Death used to be a mystery, but thanks to research, we now know a lot more about risk factors and how to keep babies safe.
There are three risk factors for Sudden Infant Death which, when they converge, put babies at most risk.
These risk factors are:
- vulnerable age
- vulnerable baby
- and vulnerable place.
Vulnerable age – Babies are most at risk in the first six months of life.
Vulnerable baby – Babies are particularly vulnerable if they were born prematurely, have a low birth weight and/or if they were exposed to smoke during pregnancy or after birth. Smoke exposure affects baby’s ability to wake themselves when something goes wrong. Formula fed babies are also at greater risk of Sudden Infant Death.
Vulnerable place – Babies need their own safe place to sleep. They can suffocate if put to sleep on couches, tri-pillows, bean bags or water beds. Swaddled or wrapped babies are particularly vulnerable as it it’s harder for them to get their face clear if it gets covered. Don’t leave babies to sleep in their car seat once you’ve arrived at your destination either, as they may experience breathing difficulties if their head slumps forwards.
Babies need to be safe and close to you, and for a lot of people, that means being in the same bed. But this can increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death, particularly for at-risk babies. A safe co-sleeping option is the wahakura, a woven flax bassinet based on Kaupapa Maori.
The pepi-pod is another low-cost, safe sleeping option for those who want baby in bed with them. The pepi-pod comes with a handy ‘rules of protection’ rhyme:
On the back, face clear
Only baby in here Every sleep, everywhere
Always breathing smokefree air
Drugs and drinking nowhere near
Own space, best care
In summary: provide your baby with a smokefree environment, breastfeed them and put them to sleep face up, face clear for every sleep.
For more information about pepi-pods, visit www.pepi-pod.co.nz