There's no treatment for sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS. But there are ways to help your baby sleep safely. For the first year, always place your baby on his or her back to sleep. Use a firm mattress and avoid fluffy pads and blankets. Remove all toys and stuffed animals from the crib, and try using a pacifier. Don't cover a baby's head, and make sure your baby doesn't get too hot. Your baby can sleep in your room, but not in your bed. Breast feeding for at least six months lowers the risk of SIDS. Vaccine shots to protect your baby from diseases may also help prevent SIDS.
Coping and support
After losing a baby to SIDS, getting emotional support is critical. You might feel guilt as well as grief, and you'll be dealing with the mandatory police investigation into cause of death. You might find it comforting to talk to other parents whose lives have been touched by SIDS.
Ask your doctor to recommend a support group in your area or visit an online SIDS chat room. Talking to a trusted friend, counselor or clergy member can also help.
Communicate your feelings
If you can, let friends and family know how you're feeling. People want to help, but they might not know how to approach you.
Losing a child can put a terrible strain on a relationship, so be as open as possible with your spouse or partner. Counseling might help some couples understand and express their feelings.
Allow time for healing
Finally, give yourself time to grieve. Don't worry if you find yourself crying unexpectedly, if holidays and other celebratory times are especially difficult, or if you're tired and drained much of the time.
You're dealing with a devastating loss. Healing takes time.
May 20, 2020
- About SIDS and safe infant sleep. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. https://safetosleep.nichd.nih.gov/safesleepbasics/about. Accessed May 5, 2020.
- Corwin MJ. Sudden infant death syndrome: Risk factors and risk reduction strategies. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed May 5, 2020.
- Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths: Updated 2016 recommendations for a safe infant sleeping environment. Pediatrics. 2016;138:e20162938.
- Kliegman RM, et al. Sudden infant death syndrome. In: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Elsevier; 2020. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 5, 2020.
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)