babiesinbloom_kelseysmithphotography2015printresolution300ppinativefile-29While SIDS rates in the United States has decreased by over 50% in the past two decades, SIDS sadly remains the leading cause of death for U.S infants 1 month to 1 year of age.

That’s what makes the month of October so important – it’s SIDS Awareness Month, a month where social and professional communities join forces to support families who have lost a child to SIDS, as well as drive wider, overall awareness of it.

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare to think about SIDS, let alone face it. It’s terrifying because there is still so much we don’t know about it. But what we DO know is that there are things we can do to help reduce risks. Information and education are key.

We can all do our bit this month – and beyond. We can support by sharing experiences, hard facts, advice and recommendations. Sharing, be it in person or via social media, can make a difference.

So, if you see campaigns for safe sleep practices or safe environments for babies, read it. Talk about it. Post about it. Pass it on.

If you know a new mom, or mom-to-be, respectfully make sure they are aware of the risks of things like bed sharing and loose bedding.

If someone else is looking after your child, make sure you talk to them about safe sleep practices and be sure that person agrees to follow safety recommendations. It’s easy to assume they might already know about it, but the truth is, it is a subject that’s difficult to talk about, or that many people avoid.

Talking about it is NOT about scaring anyone. Or preaching to them. It’s not about patronizing them or being disrespectful. it’s about support and preparation. It’s about empowering parents and caregivers to make the best, safest choices for their baby.

It’s all about keeping the conversation going! It really can help save lives. 

A helpful resource on SIDS is the American Academy of Pediatrics ‘Parents Guide to Safe Sleep’, available here.