Baby Care

Positional Asphyxia in Infants - Causes Of Postural Asphyxia in Babies, Preventing Positional Asphyxia in Infants
Positional Asphyxia, also known as Postural Asphyxia, can lead to death in infants. Read on to know its causes and ways of preventing it.

Positional Asphyxia in Infants

Babies are like these charmers, who can just cast a few spells on you and make you wander around them. If there is a newborn baby in the house, he/she makes sure everyone’s attention is focused only on him/her. Babies will wake up in the wee hours of morning, sleep at odd times, and cry continuously for you to figure out the reason. Think if this just stops all of a sudden, just because of your baby sleeping in a wrong position? Sounds strange right? But it is possible. Babies can pose a great risk to their life, if they happen to sleep in a way that might suffocate them. This leads to positional asphyxia, also known as postural asphyxia. It is a state of lack of oxygen to breathe, due to the sleeping position. Positional asphyxia happens mostly in infancy, when an infant is found dead with his/her mouth and nose blocked or their chest unable to fully expand. It can just happen suddenly, so parents need to be extremely careful while making their babies to go to sleep.

  • If you are making your baby sleep in a couch or a bean bag, think over again, because it can turn out to be dangerous. Infants who sleep off in a couch or a bean bag are under higher risk of getting choked.
  • Infants sharing bed with others can also lead to postural asphyxia. Infant’s body is very sensitive and fragile. When sleeping they should be made to lie down alone, without any other child or baby sleeping next to them.
  • Waterbeds can also prove out to be one of the reasons for positional asphyxia. Waterbeds though soft, are not stable and might lead to suffocation, if babies happen to lie down with their mouth facing down.
  • Cribs though safe can also be dangerous, if you have not chosen the right one for your baby. The cribs should be of exact size with no loose ends. The mattress should be properly laid down. The bedding should be a perfect fit.
  • The crib should also not contain any soft toys, sheepskins, quilts or any such material that can choke the babies during sleeping. There is also a risk of your baby getting some allergy or infection. The crib should be empty with the bedding properly laid down.
  • Babies may love to share the bed with you. It can be dangerous at times and so, it is better to develop a routine for them to get sleep in their crib.
  • While a baby is sleeping, his/her face should not be covered by any quilt or blanket. The baby should also not be sleeping against any soft materials, such as toys. He/she should have enough space to breathe properly.
  • Sleeping sideways or sleeping with the face down is a wrong sleeping position and can kill your baby. The ideal sleeping position would be sleeping on the back. Any other sleeping position just increases the risk of suffocation and choking.
  • Infants are the safest when made to sleep in their own crib or bassinet. The mattress should well fit the crib and there should be no extra pillows, quilts or soft toys in the area.
  • The best sleeping posture is to make them sleep on their back.
  • While nursing the baby, he/she can be placed on the mother’s bed, it is better to shift him/her to the crib while sleeping.
  • Babies might take a little while to get adjusted to the crib and during that period, he/she might be sleeping with you on your bed. If this is the case, make sure that there are no extra items like quilts, any toys or other soft items. There should be no place or space provided where the baby could fall between mattresses. The baby should also not be laid on sides, as he/she might trip down.
  • If the baby is sleeping with the parents or in their own crib, the area where he/she sleeps should be well ventilated and free from any smoke.

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