What is SIDS?
SIDS stands for Sudden Death Infant Syndrome. SIDS is an inexplicable, unexpected and sudden death of an infant under age one. This condition usually has no history and an autopsy or post-death investigations cannot explain the reason of death. This condition is usually seen in infants under six months and risk is supposedly less as baby grows.
SIDS is usually known to strike during sleep late at night.
What are the possible causes of SIDS?
There is no definite identification of what causes SIDS, but there is some consensus of possible contributing factors to SIDS and babies exposed to below may be at higher risk of SIDS :
- Premature birth of baby
- Low birth-weight baby
- Malnourished babies are also at higher risk of SIDS
- Alcohol or drug intake by mother during pregnancy. Read more on diet during pregnancy
- Exposure to smoking during pregnancy
- Low maternal age, i.e. if mother’s age is less than twenty
- Inadequate prenatal care
- Sleeping on stomach is also known to be a factor and experts recommend that babies must be put down to sleep on their backs
- Soft baby bedding may also be a factor
- Uncomfortable room temperature, either too hot or too low
- Babies in families with history of SIDS are also at a higher risk
- Co-sleeping or babies sharing bed with parents are seen to have higher incidence of SIDS.
Symptoms of SIDS
SIDS has no symptoms. SIDS is usually diagnosed in case baby has died during her sleep and there is no evidence of any struggle or discomfort. Baby passes away silently and parents usually become aware only when it is too late.
Precautions to reduce the risk of SIDS?
There are many precautions that parents can take to reduce the risks of SIDS :
- First and the foremost is good prenatal care. Mother must get good and timely medical care during pregnancy.
- Avoid smoking or alcohol during pregnancy.
- Baby should not be exposed to smoke after birth.
- Breastfeed your baby as long as possible.
- Always put your baby to sleep on back and not on stomach.
- Ensure baby’s room is comfortable and is neither too hot now too cold.
- Baby’s bedding must be firm and crib should not have extra blankets or pillows. Choose good sleepwear for baby.
- Give lots of love and hugs to your baby.
How to establish good sleep habits in babies?