Understanding SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
SIDS, also known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, remains a major public health concern, primarily affecting families with babies aged 1 to 4 months. Though the cause remains unknown, there are a several steps you can take to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Causes and Risks Factors of SIDS
SIDS is caused by an unknown combination of factors within the environment and the child’s biological and genetic makeup. Some known risks factors include:
- Preterm Birth: Babies born prematurely (before 37 weeks of gestation) are more likely to die from SIDS.
- Younger Age: SIDS is more likely to occur during the first 6 months of life.
- Gender: Boys are more likely to die from SIDS than girls.
- Family History: Babies who have a sibling, parent, aunt, or uncle who has died from SIDS are at higher risk.
- Tobacco Smoke Exposure: Babies exposed to smoke, before and after birth, are more at risk of SIDS.
Though the exact cause of SIDS is unknown, there are ways to reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS:
- Keep your baby in your bedroom, but not in your bed. It is recommended to keep your baby in their own sleep space, such as a crib or bassinet, in the same room as you.
- Put your baby to sleep on their back. While your baby is sleeping, place them on their back, rather than their stomach or side.
- Avoid smoking around your baby. Smoking near your baby, either before or after birth, can increase the risk of SIDS.
- Eliminate soft bedding from the sleep area. Soft bedding, including blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals, can obstruct your baby’s breathing, so keep it out of their sleep area.
- Breastfeed your baby. The act of breastfeeding, as well as resulting hormones, has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS.
SIDS is a difficult condition to comprehend and even more difficult to cope with. It is essential for parents to be aware of the ways to reduce the risk of SIDS and create a safe sleep environment for their baby.