SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is a devastating event for parents with young children, so make sure that your day care provider is aware of the threat. SIDS is an unexplained tragedy where an infant or young child stops breathing in the middle of the night and passes away. It isn’t linked to anything the parents do, but it can be avoided if you follow the “rules” of putting your baby down for a nap or for the night. Pediatrics, a reputable trade journal, says that 20% if SIDS cases occur when the child is in the care of someone other than his or her parents. When you leave your child in someone else’s care, always leave instructions concerning SIDS.
This rule goes for children who are in the care of day care providers as well as nannies, babysitters and other secondary caregivers. Any time you leave your child with another adult, make sure he or she is aware of the potential threat of SIDS and what can happen if you aren’t careful. Parents and caregivers shouldn’t live in mortal fear of SIDS, as it is a relatively uncommon incident, but it should be in the back of your mind when caring for your child.
Always Put Babies Down on Their Back
Make sure that your day care provider knows that your child must be put down on his or her back. Studies show that infants who fall asleep on their sides or stomachs are far more likely to experience SIDS, so this is very important. Remember that if you put your child down on his or her side, it is much easier to roll onto the stomach, which can result in suffocation.
Keep the Crib Empty
Children under one year of age should not be put down with anything else in the crib. This includes stuffed animals, toys, books and even blankets. If you dress your child warmly enough, he or she shouldn’t need covers to get through the night. Explain to your day care provider that the crib should be bare when the child is put down.
Use a Fitted Mattress
Crib mats or mattresses that aren’t fit snugly against the edges of the crib pose a potential danger for SIDS in children. Make sure that your day care provider is using a crib that has no gaps on the sides of the mattress and that, if a sheet is used, it isn’t bunched or torn in any areas. In fact, you’re better off inspecting the crib where your child is likely to sleep during day care to make sure it isn’t dangerous.
Check on the Child Often
When your child is in day care, he or she should be checked on every ten or fifteen minutes. Although SIDS can occur unexpectedly and in a brief amount of time, it is best if day care providers keep an eye out. If the child should roll onto his or her side or stomach, make sure the day care knows to correct the situation.
When you leave your child for day care, it is often best to leave instructions. Post a list of the rules on the inside of your child’s crib to make sure they are followed explicitly. If you have any reason to believe that your child is not receiving adequate care, remove your child from the day care immediately and find a facility that takes proper care of their charges.