In the past 20 years, the number of infant suffocation deaths has increased dramatically.
These deaths have been the result of accidental strangulation and suffocation while in the crib.
However, infant suffocation might not be on the rise after all.
While suffocation has increased, the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome has decreased. More and more infant deaths are being reported as suffocations.
Still, infant deaths in general are on the rise and there are several steps that mothers can take to protect their infants.
Facts about infant suffocation
- Many home environments are full of potential choking hazards
- Infant suffocation deaths most often occur at night when the infant is sleeping
- 70% of infant deaths are caused by cribs
- Many unexpected products such as ribbons, clothing drawstrings and pacifier strings can actually choke an infant
What causes infant suffocation deaths?
The most common causes of infant suffocation are improper bedding. Also, many infants suffocate because older wisdom advocates that infants be placed on their stomach. Other causes of infant suffocation are:
- Unintentional smothering when sleeping besides the infant
- Blocking of airflow by blankets or pillows
- Covering of the chest, which prevents lung expansion
- Choking when swallowing a small toy or other object
- Lack of oxygen coming into the room
- Strangulationâ€”most likely by a cord that gets wrapped around the babyâ€™s neck
Oftentimes, the infantâ€™s own weight prevents him from breathing. Parents are recommended to put an infant on her back.
How to prevent infant suffocation deaths?
- Do not put your infant on his or her stomach
- Do not sleep beside your infant or allow anyone else to
- Put your infant to sleep on a hard surface
- Do not put your infant to sleep with a blanket or toy
- Dress your infant in warm clothing to eliminate the need for a blanket
- Keep cribs clear of any cords
- keep openings on the crib small in order to prevent your infant from getting his head stuck
- Do not use an old crib
- Do not put your infant to sleep on her side
- Smoke outside or quit smoking
- Do not put the pacifier in an infantâ€™s mouth while the infant is sleeping
- Do not give your infant toys that can be swallowed. This can be tested by trying to put the toy through a cardboard roll.
- Check up on your infant frequently during the night
- Always supervise your infant or child when the child is playing or eating
- If your infant is choking, call 911 immediately and check the infantâ€™s mouth to see if anything can be removed
- Do not have your infant wear anything with cords or hoods
- Do not give your infant a balloon
- Do not use headboards with decorative holes
- Place all plastic bags immediately in the garbage
- Keep your infant away from storage containers