Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

The Safe to Sleep campaign works on the Back to Sleep to constantly remind and help parents/caretakers to put their babies to sleep on their backs instead of sideways or on the stomach. What is this safe sleep environment all about? Read on to know.

Sudden death among babies of age under 12 months, is known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The prime problem with SIDS is that: the reason for these deaths is unexplained! Not having answers to questions makes this a scary condition. There is no one particular reason for babies to be prone to SIDS; instead, SIDS may occur due to several factors combined. However, there are a few tips and tricks that may help you ensure the safety of your baby, which are mentioned further below.

Who are the Victims of SIDS Death

Age: It is noted that the average age of a SIDS death is between the 2nd and the 4th months.
Gender: It is noted that boys fall prey to SIDS deaths more than that compared to girls.
Season: The number of SIDS cases is believed to be higher during cold winters.

Causes of SIDS Death

  1. Unfit sleeping position of the baby
  2. Smoking and drinking habits of the mother during pregnancy
  3. Poor pregnancy care
  4. Hereditary cause
  5. Premature delivery
  6. Cases of low birth weight
  7. When the mother is under 20 years of age
  8. Overheating of the baby

Tips to Ensure the Baby’s Safety

  1. Always place your baby on the back while sleeping – not on the stomach
  2. Retain from smoking/drinking/drugs during pregnancy and after the delivery
  3. Take early and good prenatal care
  4. Don’t miss out on vaccinations – vaccinated babies are noted to have a 50% lesser risk of SIDS death than the other babies
  5. Regularly check your baby for excessive warmth, during sleep. Too much sweating or warm skin is not recommended
  6. Breastfeed? Yes, please! Mother’s milk is noted to reduce the chances of SIDS death
  7. Bumper pads in cribs are not suggested. They may prove to be suffocating or strangulating
  8. Use simple and soft bedding – cover the mattress with just a bedsheet and not too many layers
  9. Let your baby sleep on firm mattresses – not on pillows, couches, chairs, waterbeds, or other soft surfaces.

Good News

Since when AAP (the American Academy of Pediatrics) has been taking active measures to spread awareness about the Back to Sleep* and Safe to Sleep, the SIDS death rate has notably dropped (though it still remains one of the leading causes of death among little babies). This would help us believe that the campaign works in practicality.

*Back to Sleep – on noting that sleeping on the stomach threatens babies’ lives more, the AAP launched the Back to Sleep campaign that urges parents and caretakers to ensure that their babies (up to the age of 1 year) lay on their backs instead of stomachs.

Written by MedPlus