It is the worst nightmare any Mom or Dad can ever have in this world, infant death. While sometimes there is nothing that could have been done differently to prevent infant deaths, it is important to play your role in preventing infant death. Here are some of the ways you can prevent infant and early childhood deaths.
- If you are planning on having a baby, be healthy before you get pregnant and take folic acid to prevent birth defects of the brain and spine.
- Tell your doctor if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or any other illness.If you think you may be pregnant, see a medical provider immediately. Early prenatal care could prevent having the baby too soon. Learn the signs of pre-term delivery – dads, family and friends need to know too.
- If possible, breastfeed your baby. Breastfeeding during the first year may prevent the baby from getting sick and may reduce the risk of infant death. Research has shown that breast fed babies have very few cases of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Make the baby’s sleep environment safe. Babies should sleep on their back. Do not use soft bedding, don’t smoke around the baby and don’t let the baby get too warm. Avoid sharing the bed with an infant as this can facilitate SIDS. The true causes of SIDS are not clearly known but heat and possible suffocation/asphyxia has been blamed for infant deaths.
- Use a car seat that is the right size for the age and weight of the baby. Make sure it is properly installed. If unsure how to secure a car seat, your local fire department can help you learn how to do it for free.
- Never shake a baby. Crying is a baby’s way of communicating but if the crying is too much to handle, call someone to help or place the baby in a safe place and leave the room until you are calm. Shaking the baby can break bones, cause spinal cord injuries with permanent injuries and disability. Shaking a baby is illegal in USA punishable with jail time and fine and the baby taken away by child protection services.