Susanne Ramos, a MedMax neonatal nurse practitioner who serves Peterson Regional Medical Center, said tragically, the root cause of SIDS remains unknown.
She said there are many theories, but one thing that can reduce SIDS risks is safe sleep practices — including avoiding co-sleeping and putting babies to sleep flat on their backs in a crib, with no bedding, crib bumpers or other items.
“There’s so much we still don’t know,” Ramos said. “They’re still researching it, but we know (safe sleep practices) are one thing that can help.”
At PRMC, several specific practices have been instituted to reduce SIDS risks.
PRMC Director of Women’s Services Marina Hoffman said every family that comes through Peterson’s doors views and reads educational materials on safe sleep.
Also, since a traditional swaddle can come undone and potentially present a hazard to a sleeping baby, about a year ago, PRMC transitioned to a new and safer one-piece sleep swaddle, the SleepSack Swaddle — the preferred swaddle used in hospitals across North America.
The Peterson Foundation raised the funds for purchasing these swaddles, and in addition to using them hospital-wide for newborns, every family also gets to take one home.
Additionally, PRMC parents who take several 10-minute online courses about SIDS, breastfeeding and safe sleep are eligible to receive a free “Baby Box.”
Similar to sleep structures used in Finland — a country with astronomically low SIDS rates — the Baby Box is a durable cardboard box that meets bassinet safety standards and has a firm foam mattress and fitted cotton sheet.
More information can be found on receiving a free Baby Box at BabyBoxUniversity.com/content.
But sometimes, when it comes to SIDS, there are no answers, Ramos said.
Sometimes, a family can do everything right and the unthinkable still happens.