Know About Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Know About Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

SIDS is one fatal condition affecting babies less than one year old. It has no specific symptoms and several healthy infants can become its victims. Medical science has not been able to find a cause leading to it, but some probable risk factors have been identified. To ensure your infant does not face the risk for SIDS, taking some preventive steps to be advisable. The sleeping position of babies should be watched to prevent its onset. Sleeping on the stomach is risky and so is usage of too many bedding and layers of clothing for infants.

A child brings pure and immense joy and a sense of fulfillment for the parents, regardless of caste or location. For the parents of an infant, keeping the baby in the best possible condition becomes a priority. There are several childhood related ailments and disorders, parents should be concerned about, but nothing can be possibly as traumatic as SIDS. The Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, abbreviated as SIDS, is a condition which remains still largely unexplained and claims thousands of infants every year. It is related to unexplained death of infants below 1 year. Since it leads to demise of infants, parents should learn ways to Prevent SIDS and be aware about risk factors.

Nuances of SIDS

Sudden infant death syndrome is declared when doctors cannot figure out the cause of an infant’s death owing to any feasible factor after extensive examination including autopsy and review of health history. It happens mostly in periods of infant sleep. It happens usually after the first month and risk reduces after 6th month gradually. It is not hereditary or contagious. It is also not caused by immunizations. Doctors believe African American infants are more vulnerable to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome than Caucasians. Male kids are thought to be more susceptible to it than female ones.

The Causes/Risk Factor of Infant SIDS

Despite the efforts of medical community and a number of studies the exact cause of SIDS is hard to pinpoint. The most pathetic part is there is hardly any sign of warning or symptoms and seemingly healthy infants can fall prey to it. In their efforts to find the root of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, researchers have found out some possible factors that may contribute to it. When you learn those factors, it becomes easier to prepare your mind and take precautions to Prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Potential Risk Factors May Include:

  • Low birth weight
  • Smoking, drinking in pregnancy
  • Birth followed by tobacco smoke exposure
  • Overheating caused by too much sleepwear and bedding

However, the prevalent theory in the medical community behind the onset of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is improper sleeping positions. It is said that the baby is at more risk of being affected by SIDS if he or she sleeps on stomach or side. Sleeping on the stomach may make the kid facing down the pillow and mattress which can smother him or her. To Prevent SIDS putting the baby on bed on his back is advisable. This notion made the AAP to recommend in the Back to Sleep campaign in 1992 that infants below 1 year should be made to sleep in the supine position. Contrary to what many parents think, healthy infants sleeping on their back would not vomit or choke. After six months, when infants learn to roll over on their own, the risk of SIDS is reduced to a large extent.

Things You Can Do To Prevent SIDS

While SIDS is absolutely unpredictable and can affect apparently healthy infants without any prior sign, parents should do their bit to reduce the risk factors. The below listed tips are ideal to reduce the onset of this dreadful and fatal condition in infants:

  • Ensure the bedding does not affect breathing of the infant adversely. While the bed should be firm without being too hard for a baby, do not let him sleep on a pillow entirely. Do not put many layers of blankets on the baby as it can be smothering.

  • SIDS can be reduced if the infant receives recommended number of immunizations.

  • While ensuring the baby does not feel cold while sleeping is important, do not go overboard. If the baby feels too warm while sleeping that may increase the risk of SIDS. Keep tab on room temperature and layers of clothing on the baby.

  • When a woman conceives she should refrain from smoking and drinking if she wants to Prevent SIDS affecting the baby later.

  • Researchers think babies who receive breastfeeding are less likely to get affected by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, though the clear reasons have not been found. One possible factor could be breastfeeding develops better immunity to stave off health factors leading to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

  • You may give the baby a soft toy for playing, but ensure he or she does not sleep close to it. Examples of Infants hugging and choking on soft toys while sleeping and developing SIDS are not uncommon actually.

Summing It Up

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome can be traumatic for any parents. Since it affects healthy infants and has no specific symptoms, prevention is the best approach. By taking some precautions while taking care of the infant, you can reduce the risk and Prevent SIDS without much hardship. To know more on such infant aliments, it's time to consult Best Pediatricians in Kolkata or Best Pediatrics Hospitals in Kolkata.

Reviewed By:

Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)

Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad