Recognising Safe Sleep and SIDS Awareness Month 2021
Every year, October is recognized as safe sleep and SIDS awareness month. According to data from Boston’s Children’s Hospital, about 2,300 infants die of sudden-infant-death--syndrome, or SIDS, every year.
The month of October is dedicated to providing insight and information to parents to protect their children from sleep-related injury or death. This has always been a part of our company’s mission as Halo was founded by Bill Schmid, who tragically lost his child to SIDS in 1991.
In order to raise awareness, we wanted to give parents a brief history of the month, as well as arm them with safe sleeping knowledge, tools, and products to help them make the best choices for their families.
The history of SIDs awareness month
October as Safe Sleep and SIDS Awareness month is part of the larger Safe to Sleep campaign led by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Launched in 1994, the national campaign “provides resources for caregivers and community members to promote safe infant sleep strategies to reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.”
In the past 20 years since the start of the campaign, these resources have helped to cause an almost 50% decrease in death by SIDS. While this is a tremendous strive forward, SIDS remains the leading cause of death for children between 1 month to 1 year of age. This tells us there is still room for improvement. By supporting research into what causes and prevents SIDS while educating parents and caregivers at the same time, we hope to make a difference.
What is the SIDS awareness ribbon?
The SIDS awareness ribbon is made up of pink and blue. These colours represent the boys and girls lost to not only SIDS but other infant related deaths as well. Wearing and displaying these SIDS awareness ribbons demonstrates your commitment to educating parents and caregivers on safe sleep practices.
How to practice safe sleep awareness month
Unfortunately, the exact cause behind SIDS remains unknown. Many researchers believe a multitude of factors are at play when an infant succumbs to SIDS called the Triple Risk Model.
This is a convergence of:
★ A vulnerable infant who might already be suffering from an underlying brain condition or abnormality. This is something that may not even be detectable or diagnosable until after death.
★ A critical development time as most SIDS deaths occurs between 1-6 months of age. The rapid growth and change during this time can make a child vulnerable as it may destabilise the infant's internal systems temporarily or periodically.
★ Outside stressors (such as improper sleep positions, overheating, smoke inhalation) can act as a tipping point to an already vulnerable infant during this critical time of development.
While an exact cause isn’t known, researchers generally agree that addressing the outside stressors part of the Triple-Risk Model is the best chance to keep your infant safe.
According to various organisations, safe sleep practices include:
Back is best
Always place infants to sleep on their back. This is especially critical for children who are unable to roll over easily. Sleeping on their backs helps to keep airways clear.
Always a firm mattress
Whether using a bassinet, cot, or pack-n-play, make sure the mattress is firm and covered with a tight-fitting sheet.
A baby is at higher risk of SIDS when they are overheated. Maintain a comfortable room temperature (20 – 22°C), and layer your baby appropriately based on the room temperature.
Your infant should not be around to receive any second-hand smoke. If you or someone in the home smokes, it needs to be done outside and away from the baby.
Bed-sharing is not recommended by the AAP, however, they do recommend sleeping in the same room as your infant at least for the first 6 months to a year.
At Halo, we want to make sure all parents and guardians are informed and able to safely put their babies to sleep every night. This month we invite you to participate in Safe Sleep and SIDS Awareness by practicing safe sleep habits and encouraging other parents to do the same.