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What is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?
SIDS is a sudden or unexplained death of a less than a year old healthy baby. Most SIDS deaths are usually during sleep, which is why it is sometimes called “crib death”. SIDS has been the overall leading cause of death among infants and is one of the leading cause overall of infant mortality rate in the United States.
The CDC mentions that a number of infants die each year from suffocation by soft bedding or accidental strangulation. Moreover, some babies die each year during sleep for reasons that are not investigated.
Causes of SIDS
There are no exact causes of SIDS, but there is a combination of factors that are considered.
Many experts believe that SIDS occurs at a specific stage in the development of a baby, and affects babies who are susceptible to certain environmental factors. It happens more often to babies who are born prematurely or having a low birth weight. It is also more often seen in babies whose mothers smoke or didn’t get proper medical attention during their pregnancy.
Some other factors also include some respiratory illnesses. Finally, all the causes of SIDS are still not fully understood and more research on this has to be made.
How to reduce the risks of SIDS or other sleep-related deaths
Here are the main tips that experts recommend:
- Always put your baby on his/her back when putting to sleep.
- Get regular prenatal check-ups.
- Do not smoke, drink alcohol, or do drugs while you are pregnant.
- Sleep with your baby in the same room, but not on the same bed.
- Keep away soft items and other loose beddings from your baby.
- Use a firm mattress* for your baby.
- Breastfeed* your baby if you can and make sure your baby gets immunized.
- Provide a comfortable room temperature* for your baby.
- Offer a pacifier* during naptime and bedtime.
There is no known proof on preventing SIDS, and no exam nor test that can predict whether your baby is likely to die due to SIDS.
Always remember that SIDS is rare. Just keep your baby safe during sleep, and do not let worries keep you from having quality time with your baby.