How to Prevent Infant Deaths During Bedtime

The deaths of two infants just 24 hours apart in South Florida are putting the spotlight on parents who share a bed with a baby. It’s a practice that pediatricians say is dangerous.

Babies should sleep in the same room as their parents, but not the same bed because parents run the risk of accidentally roll over on to the child and suffocate them, doctors say.

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Dr. Barbara Pena is the Research Director of the Emergency Department at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.

“Infants that sleep with their parents in the same room have a 50% less chance of dying from SIDS,” said Dr. Pena.

SIDS — or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome — is the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a seemingly healthy baby. To prevent SIDS and other sleep-related deaths, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following:

Parents place their babies on their backs on a firm sleep surface -share a bedroom, but not the same sleeping surface

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Avoid the use of soft bedding like crib bumpers, pillows, and blankets

“Put a little bit heavier pajamas on the baby so they’re not cold. But, blankets can easily go on top of their face or over their nose and mouth and cause them to asphyxiate,” said Dr. Pena.

Doctor Pena says swaddling is allowed during the first few weeks of life as long as it is done correctly. As for signs your baby might be in need of CPR or emergency help, doctors say pay attention to your child’s color.

“A lot of the times they say the baby turned dusky or purple or blue especially around the lips. Those are signs that there is not enough oxygen and that the baby needs to be resuscitated,” said Dr. Pena.

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