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What is Positional Asphyxia?Positional asphyxia is a form of asphyxia, a condition characterized by deficiency of oxygen supply to the body. Positional asphyxia occurs when a person’s position prevents adequate breathing. It is also known as postural asphyxia. This fatal condition is often seen in infants who suffocate due to the sleeping position. In positional asphyxia, sudden death in infants is usually caused by blocked mouth and a nose or chest prevented from full expanding. Because of possible death due to positional asphyxia, parents must know how to position their babies in a safe position.

What Causes Positional Asphyxia and How to Prevent It?Positional asphyxia occurs due to obstructed airway in an infant caused by abnormal position of the baby’s neck or body. Unsafe sleep environment represents the highest risk of positional asphyxia in infants. Putting a baby to sleep on a couch or a bean bag can be very dangerous. Also, a baby who shares bed with someone else is at the risk of positional asphyxia due to his/her fragile and sensitive body. It is recommended that babies always sleep in their cribs and not in shared sleeping areas.

Sleeping in a water bed can also be dangerous since they are soft and unstable. It may cause a baby to turn on his/her stomach, which can prevent free air flow. It is vital that you make sure your baby’s face is not covered with any fabric or covering. Baby’s crib should be free of pillows, stuffed animals, plush toys and quilts as it may lead to suffocation in a child. It also poses the risk of an allergy or an infection. Therefore, you must keep baby’s crib empty and baby’s face visible at all times.

Another important thing is to make sure that the mattress and sheets are of the appropriate size and tightly fit in the crib. A baby must be allowed to breathe freely. The baby should not be put to sleep against any soft materials and his/her face must not be covered. Side or stomach sleeping increases the risk of infant suffocation. Those are unsafe sleep positions that can cause death in a baby. Te best sleeping position for a baby to be in is on the back. It is very dangerous to fall asleep while holding a baby. This frequently happens to nursing mothers when they breastfeed their babies at night but in order to prevent positional asphyxia, a mother must put her baby in the crib right after nursing.

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