15 Craziest Things Parents Have Done To Try And Prevent SIDS

SIDS is one of the most tragic things that can happen to a family. In the U.S. alone, more than 2,000 babies die every year of SIDS.

SIDS is one of the most tragic things that can happen to a family. In the U.S. alone, more than 2,000 babies die every year of SIDS. Some parents will go to any lengths to prevent this horrific nightmare. While there are some basics that can help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, there are also a lot of crazy things that don’t help but perhaps give peace of mind to some new moms and dads.

Parents shouldn’t feel the need to go to extremes or spend a bunch of money doing things that won’t truly keep the baby any safer at night. It seems like every year, new advice, products, and research comes out about what may or may not help prevent SIDS. The “experts” constantly change up their information, confusing new parents and driving them to buy ridiculous items.

If you have a smoke-free, drug-free home, use the proper sleep setup for you and your baby (this will vary greatly for everyone), and follow the guidelines that we know for a fact to be effective, you can reduce the risk of SIDS happening to your child. Sometimes, tragedy strikes regardless of every precaution being taken. No parent should fall into the trap of fear and sleepless nights, though. Read on to find out the 15 Craziest Things Parents Have Done To Try And Prevent SIDS.

15Refusing To Go To Sleep

Everyone needs sleep- especially new parents. Staying up all night to make sure the baby is okay is one of the craziest and most ridiculous things anyone could do. While it’s normal to feel some fears about losing the baby or something bad happening while you’re asleep, the blunt truth is that you’re more likely to get in an accident or not take good care of the baby if you’re completely sleep deprived.

Shockingly, though, there are some parents who try not to sleep when the baby is sleeping. It’s counterintuitive and unnecessary, and it’s hard to imagine they could find a way to get enough rest unless they took turns with their partner. To me, this sounds like a recipe for tired, miserable parents and a baby that doesn’t get to spend enough time with both parents being present and happy.

14Using Expensive Baby Monitoring Devices

When the Owlet first came out, I saw a bunch of my girlfriends buying it and totally almost gave into the hype. That is, until I had a very sick child and learned the actual parameters of respiratory rates and oxygen levels, and did my research. These over-the-counter home monitoring devices for babies do not have a narrow enough range to alert you when stats are just slightly off- which is often how serious issues like pneumonia often start.

Sure, a monitor will alert you when numbers are very high or low with the baby’s stats, but the companies themselves state that the devices do not prevent SIDS and are consumer products, not medical devices.

A true expert says, “Smart monitoring devices won't hurt as an extra way for parents to track their children—as long as they're well aware that doing so won't alert them to SIDS in their babies.” If you have a pre-term baby or baby with breathing problems, you’ll need more than a dinky pulse-ox to stay on top of things.

13Peeking On Baby Constantly

Here’s another one a lot of parents do but is not really helpful. Checking on the baby excessively and not getting any sleep doesn’t do anyone a lick of good. If something is going to happen to the baby, checking on them randomly won’t guarantee you’ll stop the problem from happening. Sure, it’s normal to check a few times a night or keep them close by, but don’t get too crazy.

A better solution would be getting a co-sleeping bassinet that attaches to the bed, or if you are light sleeper, placing the baby next to you. While I’m sure some will balk at that suggestion, sleeping with the baby is proven to help regulate their breathing and decrease their cortisol level. Obviously, don’t do this if you’re a drinker, smoker, drug user, or large person.

12Constantly Moving The Baby

Babies have died of SIDS in every imaginable position. Putting the baby on their back doesn’t guarantee they will be safe. If you have a baby like mine who refuses to sleep on their back, sometimes you just have to give in and let them sleep on their tummy. The experts can talk about sleep safety all they want, but a baby on their back can still die of SIDS or choke to death on their own vomit. Forget the fact that they might be a tummy sleeper and be miserable all night in any other position.

The bottom line here is to follow your gut and your parental instincts. If you know in your heart that your baby does not sleep well on their back but falls asleep the second you place them on their tummy, do what is right for you and your family. We have survived thousands of years without others telling us how to parent.

11Putting Baby To Sleep In A Swing

The safest place for a baby to sleep is in a crib/bassinet or safely co-sleeping with you. That being said, some babies will go to sleep a lot easier in a swing or rocking type of enclosure. Just keep in mind that there is nothing safer about a swing as opposed to a proper sleeping surface, and experts say it’s actually not safe to let the baby sleep there at all. Admittedly, our baby slept better in his swing than he ever did in a bassinet.

If you’ve seen a baby swing, you know that the only real risk would be the baby somehow rolling over in their sleep and suffocating on the pillow or padding. But the fact that the baby is strapped in seems to stop them from rolling over. Use your own discretion with this one; just know it’s not a SIDS stopper.

10Letting Baby Sleep Indoors In The Carseat

What’s crazier than using a swing to prevent SIDS? Using a car seat to prevent SIDS. Car seats are not the safest sleeping places because there isn’t great ventilation and it’s easy for the baby to overheat in there. Even if the seat isn’t inside of the vehicle, I know my baby gets very sweaty when he’s in there.

Cooler temperatures and good airflow are important factors for keeping a baby safe during sleepy time. Don't let the baby do more than nap while you are awake if they are in the carseat. It is not made to be an indoor sleep device and it shouldn't be used that way.

9Sleeping With The Baby

So we all know that the experts say co-sleeping is ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN and is the easiest way to suffocate your baby. For a lot of moms, especially breastfeeding moms, co-sleeping is the most effective and enjoyable way for both to get good rest and be able to breastfeed at a the drop of a hat. My baby is 21 months old and he can’t sleep without me; he will when he is ready.

That being said, sleeping with the baby will not necessarily prevent SIDS from happening. Sure, if the baby is sleeping on your chest, like mine often does, you might notice changes in breathing, but this isn’t necessarily the best method for preventing SIDS, nor does every mom want the baby in the bed. Again, do what feels right.

8Taking Turns Sleeping

It’s not good for anyone to throw off their sleep schedule and be forced to sleep crazy hours. Taking turns staying up to watch the baby sleep is just as crazy as not going to sleep during the nighttime. You would literally need to watch the baby every second of the night to make sure they are okay for this to even be effective, and even then, it’s still ridiculous.

Again, this is the kind of thing where a bassinet or crib near the bed would be better for all parties. You just need to find the right kind of crib or bassinet setup for your family and then have faith (and practice healthy habits). No parent should have to live with the constant fear of SIDS.

7Putting Baby In A Box

Baby boxes are a very popular item right now. While they are a cost-effective and kind of cute sleeping craze, the question is whether they are any safer than traditional methods of baby sleeping. The answer to this is unclear. There is simply not enough research to show whether they are safe/better than any other sleep item, though they say countries with better infant mortality rates have had success with the boxes.

The problem with the boxes is you can’t place them on the floor if you have any pets, and the top of the box “raises concerns.” The baby outgrows the box very quickly, which is completely impractical (and some parents may not know when that time has come). I would stay away from obscure sleep objects that don’t have enough proof of benefits.

6Sleeping With The Baby Monitor In Hand

I think most of us are guilty of this one. Sleeping with the baby monitor in your hand, or at least trying to, is not a great way to sleep. Not only that, but it’s obviously a really crazy way to try to prevent SIDS. You won’t be able to see or hear if the baby is not breathing through the baby monitor, you would only be able to hear coughing or crying.

Though it won’t really hurt anything, sleeping with the monitor in hand will make for some poor quality of sleep, if you doze off at all. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be cracking your eyes open every 3 minutes, trying to make sure all is well. Better to just put the crib in your bedroom.

5Following A Strict Vaccine Schedule

Mainstream doctors will tell parents that immunizations help prevent SIDS, but there are plenty of stories where parents believe their kids died in their sleep immediately after getting shots, especially at a very young age. This is a highly personal decision that deserves a lot of research, but parents should know that SIDS can happen regardless of whether the kid is vaccinated or not.

You’re better off providing a clean, safe, and cool sleep environment for the baby than taking the pediatrician’s words as gospel and believing that following a strict vaccine schedule will ensure perfect health. As a parent whose child had many health issues that went unchecked (where live vaccines would have proven fatal), I will say again- trust your gut.

4Stuffing Blankets Around Baby's Mattress

This seems like common sense and general knowledge but using pillows and blankets between the crib and mattress to try to prevent SIDS is a huge no. Not only is it dangerous because the baby could suffocate on them, it just doesn’t help anything. If the mattress doesn’t fit correctly in the crib, the right mattress needs to be purchased to make sure the baby is safe.

No parent wants to lose a baby to a tangled blanket or pillow they can’t breathe next to. Why anyone would risk this is beyond me. If the baby is able to roll over and is relatively strong, a light blanket isn’t necessarily the end of the world, but that is at the parent’s discretion and it’s generally best to put nothing in the crib (unlike this picture).

3Buying Special Sleeping Surfaces

There is a market full of baby positioners, sleep surfaces, and wedges that are falsely advertised as the answer to baby’s sleeping problems or the solution to parents’ SIDS fears. While a child with terrible reflux might need to be elevated on such a wedge, the average baby shouldn’t have any of these things in the crib or bassinet.

The best way for babies to sleep, especially newborns, is directly on an appropriately fitting crib mattress or bassinet, preferable on the back. Once the baby is able to roll over on their own, parents should not worry too much about what position the baby sleeps in. Babies will have their own sleep styles, just like adults do!

2Forcing Baby Onto Unnatural Sleep Schedule

It’s very crazy to think you need to change the baby’s natural sleep patterns to get them to sleep at a time when you’re awake, and it’s another sleep technique that isn’t good for anyone. You won’t help prevent SIDS sacrificing your mental sanity. Don’t be afraid to sleep when the baby sleeps and take all the proper precautions that are blatantly obvious.

Babies need a lot of sleep, and throwing them off their internal clock is going to cause a lot of stress and unhappiness for the family. Everyone wants a happy and well-rested baby, and rest is required to grow correctly, so don’t be that person. This is why they design bassinets that attach to the bed!

1Hiring A Nurse/Aid To Watch Baby Sleep

I know what you’re thinking… do people really do this? Well, you’d be surprised. Someone with a lot of money, or someone whose child has health issues might want or need to hire a nurse or home aid to watch the child all night. Unless the mom feels overwhelmed or the doctor recommends it, it seems a bit crazy.

As a tubey mom, I have to be my baby’s nurse though I couldn't hire someone to watch him sleep all night. Unless the child has breathing or feeding issues, I can’t imagine hiring someone just for the sake of not having to sleep with the baby or worry- but that’s just me. I believe I know instinctually what’s right for my baby, as do most moms. Do what is right for your circumstances.

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