UVA pediatrics professor shares tips on avoiding SIDS

Published: Oct. 16, 2022 at 6:04 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Experts at UVA Health are trying to bring awareness to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Doctors say there is evidence pointing to safer ways for babies to sleep to reduce SIDS.

Doctor Rachel Moon is a pediatrics professor at UVA and chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on SIDS. She says about 30 years ago more than 7,000 babies were dying in the U.S.

“In the 1990s, the U.S. started the Back to Sleep campaign after there was some excellent data that showed that when babies don’t sleep on their stomachs that they are much less likely to die,” Dr. Moon said.

The campaign began, and babies were put to sleep on their backs. The rate of SIDS dropped by more than half.

“Since the late 1990s, there has been no change in the death rate and still about 3,400-3,500 babies die every year,” the doctor said.

Although the cause of SIDS is still unknown, Dr. Moon says sleeping styles are a contributor.

“When babies sleep on their stomachs, they sleep much more deeply and they don’t wake up as well,” Moon said.

She says a lot of these deaths happen because babies can’t wake up when they are having trouble breathing.

“If the baby is on their stomach, and they have one of these situations where they’re not getting enough oxygen, they don’t wake up. So, if they’re on their back, they wake up more frequently and they wake up more easily,” Moon said.

She also says when babies are on their backs, they are less likely to have their mouth or nose covered.

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