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Child care Health and fitness

Sudden infant death syndrome

Updated: May 27, 2020

Every mom has heard this but is probably confused by what it is – SIDS. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, sometimes referred to as “crib death” or “cot death”, is an unexplained death that usually occurs in infants during sleep. While this is known as “Crib/Cot death” it does not necessarily insinuate that it is the crib/cot that causes it – only that it happens often in it. Read on to understand how this sudden infant death syndrome happens.

While the cause of SIDS is unknown, those who have studied this have associated the likeliness if this to happen due to the infant’s inability to wake up from their sleep, low levels of oxygen intake and buildup of CO2 (carbon dioxide) in the blood. Because of this, parents have been discouraged to let their infants sleep facing down as they may breath exhaled carbon dioxide.

Up to date, there is still no way to guarantee the prevention of SIDS, however, there are ways to decrease the chances of leading up to it. There are ways that parents can do with and for their baby for safer sleep. The most encouraged tip is to place the baby on their back while sleeping on their first year of life.

What is the most common age for SIDS?

SIDS deaths chances are higher in babies from day 1 up until 4-6 months of age. The majority of SIDS deaths that have been reported are those under the age of 6 months. However, this does not mean that it cannot happen after 6 months of age as SIDS can happen anytime within the baby’s first year of life.

Factors associated with SIDS :

Premature birth

Premature birth usually leads to a low birth weight which is a factor that plays into the cause of SIDS. Along with other complications from a premature baby, because the baby has unlikely completely developed, they have less control over things like breathing and heart rate.

Brain defect

Brain defect is a high-risk factor as the brain controls breathing and this defect could lead to complications including being unable to arise from sleep.

Respiratory infections

Many infants who have died from SIDS have also had respiratory infections – since these can also cause difficulty in breathing.

Understanding what sudden infant death syndrome - Baby on crib sleeping

Practice the following to reduce the chances and risks of SIDS :

Let your infant sleep on their back

Infants sleeping on their stomach or side have more difficulty breathing and if not monitored, could stop midway sleep.

Clear the infant’s sleeping bed

Free from anything that could potentially block their breathing. In the infant’s first year of life, pillows and comforters are highly discouraged. Also, a more firm surface for a mattress is better for them as a soft surface could sink the baby’s head in and block their airway.

Well ventilated and cool area

Keep the baby in a well ventilated and cool area. Overheating is always a problem that leads to further complications – which includes SIDS.

Top 5 cribs and cots :

Conclusion

Parents should always keep a close eye on their newborns. Always seek help when something seems off or even the slightest change in your baby that potentially seems harmful.

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