To confirm the safety of your baby's mattress or crib, contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission at 800-638-2772 or www.cpsc.gov.
Don't Smoke Around Your Baby
If you smoke, here's a huge reason to stop before you get pregnant: Babies born to women who smoked during pregnancy die from SIDS three times more often than babies born to nonsmokers. Smoking when you're pregnant is a major risk factor for SIDS, and secondhand smoke around your infant also increases the chances of SIDS. Don't let anyone smoke around your baby.
Keep Your Sleeping Baby Close, but Not in Your Bed
When a baby sleeps in the same room as mom, studies show it lowers the risk of SIDS. But it's dangerous for a baby to sleep with another child or an adult in the same bed, in an armchair, and on a couch.
If you bring your baby into your bed for comforting or breastfeeding, be sure to put the baby back in his own cradle, bassinet, or crib when you're ready to sleep.
Never bring the baby to bed with you when you're very tired or using medicines that affect your sleep.
Breastfeed as Long as You Can
Breastfeeding your baby can lower the risk of SIDS by as much as 50%, though experts aren't sure why. Some think breast milk may protect babies from infections that raise their SIDS risk. Do not drink alcohol if you breastfeed, because that raises your baby’s risk of SIDS.
Immunize Your Baby
Evidence shows babies who’ve been immunized in accordance with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC have a 50% reduced risk of SIDS compared with babies who aren’t fully immunized.
Putting your baby to sleep with a pacifier may also help prevent SIDS, though researchers aren't sure why. There are a few tips to follow when using a pacifier:
- If you're breastfeeding, wait until your baby is breastfeeding regularly (at least 1 month old) before starting to use a pacifier. Introducing a pacifier too soon can lead to nipple confusion and cause your baby to prefer the pacifier's nipple over your own.
- Don't force your baby to take the pacifier if he doesn't want it.
- Put the pacifier in your baby's mouth when you put him down to sleep, but don't put it back in his mouth after he falls asleep.
- Keep the pacifier clean, and buy a new one if the nipple is damaged.
- Don't coat the pacifier with honey, alcohol, or any other substance.