There are some topics of conversation that are so upsetting that people tend to shy away from them. At the top of the list is the death of a baby. There is no greater fear for a parent than losing their child. Unfortunately it happened to me. My first son Connor died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in 1997. And I recall that after he died, no one knew what to say to me
. I understood. I mean honestly, what do you say to a person who has just experienced something so excruciatingly painful?
Before I lost Connor, I never dreamed in a million years that I would one day be a SIDS parent. While typical parental fears would cross my mind, it was beyond imagination that in a mere 3 months and 24 days after this beautiful little boy entered my life, he would be gone.
Out of my loss I found my mission. I am now a national family safety expert and blogger
and I am still involved with First Candle
, the non-profit organization that provides support services and funds desperately needed research to finally learn how to prevent SIDS.
Unfortunately approximately 4,000 babies under one year of age died unexpectedly every year. At this time there is no known way to prevent SIDS in all cases, but there are steps parents and caregivers can take to reduce the risk of sudden infant death:
• Place your baby to sleep on his or her back at nap and nighttime
• Do not smoke while you are pregnant and don’t let anyone smoke around your baby after it’s born
• Use a safety-approved crib with a firm, tight fitting mattress covered with only a sheet
• Remove all soft, fluffy or loose bedding & toys (including blankets, soft or fluffy bumpers and positioners)
• Use a wearable blanket to replace loose blankets in your baby’s crib
• Do not put your baby to sleep on any soft surface (sofas, chairs, waterbeds, quilts, blankets, sheepskins, etc.)
• Room sharing is safer than bed sharing
• Do not dress your baby too warm for sleep; keep room temperature 68 - 72 o F
• Educate relatives, baby-sitters and other caregivers about these important safety tips
For additional information, visit First Candle website at www.firstcandle.org
Alison Jacobson is The Safety Mom – a national family safety expert, spokesperson and blogger. She provides resources and advice on how to keep the entire family happy, safe & sane. Alison’s first child died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in 1997. She also has two girls and a son with Intellectual Disabilities. www.safetymom.com