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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – What Is It And How To Prevent It?

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), also known as crib death is the sudden and unexplained death of a child of less than one year of age. Read on to learn more about the unexplained event.

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Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) stands for unexplained death, that occurs during sleep. It may occur in healthy babies less than a year old one.

SIDS is also known as crib death because infants often die in their cribs.

Causes of SIDS are unknown, but some indicators are showing that SIDS can be linked with defects in the portion of an infant’s brain that’s responsible for controlling breathing and arousal from sleep.

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What About Causes?

Sleep experts and many health researchers agree that there is no single cause of SIDS, but a combination of different physical and sleep environmental factors.

These factors can make an infant more vulnerable to SIDS. As expected, these factors vary from child to child.

Physical Factors

Some physical factors are frequently linked to SIDS. Some of them include:

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Brain Defects

No matter how well the pregnancy gets to be followed and monitored, some infants are born with certain problems.

These problems can affect infants and increase the chances of infants dying of SIDS.

Brain defects affect the portion of the brain that controls breathing and arousal from sleep but hasn’t matured enough to work properly.

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Low Birth Weight

Obesity is never desirable treats when talking about health in general.

As you may know, already high calorie intake eventually leads to obesity that can create various medical issues. In babies, nor obesity nor low weight are desirable.

Premature birth or being part of multiple births increases the chances that a baby’s brain hasn’t matured completely.

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As a result, the baby has less control over automatic processes as heart rate and breathing.

Respiratory Infection

Various infections are common in both adults and babies. However, when a respiratory infection appears in babies it tends to be more dangerous because babies are just building their immune systems.

Simply said, they aren’t strong enough to fight off any external influences. So, respiratory infection in infants can lead to SIDS.

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Many infants who died of SIDS had recently some respiratory issues, like a cold which might contribute to breathing problems.

Sleep Environmental Factors

It’s great to show a baby crib with various toys, pillows, and blankets.

It looks good, and the baby has a feeling of something warm and familiar. However, this type of surrounding can be a real threat.

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Some environmental factors, no matter how pretty they can be, are dangerous. Too many small items can be a real danger and increase the risk of SIDS.

Therefore, remove any too tiny items, and things with glitters, sharp edges, or anything else that presents a potential hazard.

Create a safer sleep environment by taking these factors into consideration:

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  • Sleeping on the stomach or side. Babies placed in the positions might have more difficulty breathing opposite to babies placed on their backs.
  • Sleeping on a soft surface. Sleeping on too soft ground can lead to many harmful moments. Lying face down on a soft mattress or even a waterbed can block an infant’s airway.
  • Sharing a bed. Sometimes parents are too tired or sleepy to take the baby to his or her bed, so they just let the baby sleep between them. Truth be told, if an infant sleeps in the same room as her or his parent, the risk of SIDS is lower. However, if the baby sleeps in the same bed with parents, siblings, or even pets, the chances of SIDS are higher.
  • Overheating. Being too warm can put the baby at a higher risk of SIDS. This is why you should always follow the doctor’s recommendations when it comes to the best room temperature and most effective sleeping environment.

Risk Factors

Sudden infant death syndrome can strike any infant, regardless of sex and age. However, experts claim that some risk factors put certain babies at higher risk.

Here are several factors that might increase a baby’s risk. They include:

  • Sex. Boys are more likely to experience SIDS.
  • Age. The most critical period for SIDS to occur in infants is between the second and fourth months of life.
  • Race. Experts claim that non-white infants are more likely to develop SIDS. Reasons for such a claim aren’t still explored enough.
  • Family history. Babies who had siblings or cousins who die of SIDS are at higher risk of SIDS.
  • Smoking. Luckily, babies do not smoke, but secondhand smoking is dangerous as well. Babies that are exposed to smoke, have a higher risk of SIDS.
  • Being premature. Babies that are born early and have a low birth weight are at higher risk of SIDS.
  • Maternal Risk Factors

    Maternal risk factors are also something that shouldn’t be ignored.

    During pregnancy, the mother may be more sensitive to certain factors and without knowing so could create a certain environment that can put the baby at higher risk of SIDS.

    The mother can put the baby at higher risk if she:

    • Is younger than 20
    • Smokes cigarettes
    • Uses drugs
    • Uses alcohol
    • Has inadequate prenatal care

    Can SIDS Be Prevented?

    There is no sure way to prevent SIDS, but you can help your baby sleep better.

    An early diagnosis is an important step in preventing a fatal diagnose, so you should be observant and knowledgeable on the issue.

    If you have a family history of SDS, a doctor may be able to determine if you also have a syndrome that could lead to sudden death.

    If you do, take the following steps to prevent sudden death.

    Here is how you could do it:

    • Avoid medications that may trigger symptoms, such as antidepressants
    • Be fast to treat fever
    • Always exercise with caution
    • Practice good heart-health measures
    • Focus on practicing a balanced diet
    • Maintain regular check-is with both your doctor and cardiac specialist

    This was on what you can do to keep yourself healthier and prevent additional stress.

    Here is how you can help your baby sleep safely by following these tips:

    Sleeping On Back

    Place your baby to sleep on his or her back. Avoid placing a baby to sleep on your stomach or side, unless you are advised otherwise by your doctor.

    How babies sleep in the first year is the most important phase.

    If you have someone helping you around the baby when your partner isn’t around, don’t assume that others will place your baby to sleep in the correct position – insist on putting baby as you do.

    Keep The Crib Safe

    It’s crucial to keep the crib as bare as possible. This is the best way to keep your baby safe.

    Use a firm mattress and avoid placing the baby on thick and fluffy padding.

    Don’t allow pillows, no matter how great they look in the crib. Don’t leave them inside the crib. Also, never leave fluffy toys or stuffed animals in the crib.

    These small items can easily interfere with a baby’s breathing if your baby’s face presses against them.

    Avoid Overheating

    It’s important to keep your baby warm, but be careful. You don’t want to avoid overheating your baby.

    Try a sleep sack or other sleep clothing that doesn’t require additional covers. Never cover your baby’s head.

    Have Your Baby Sleep In Your Room

    Ideally, your baby should sleep in your room with you, but alone in a crib. There is no need to place a baby in your bed because it can lead to additional challenges.

    Plus, adult beds aren’t safe for infants. It’s not common, but a baby can become trapped and suffocate between the headboard slats, or the space between the mattress and the wall.

    A baby can also suffocate if a sleeping parent accidentally rolls over and covers the baby’s mouth and nose.

    You should also consider the following:

    • Breast-feed your baby. Doctors and scientists claim that breastfeeding for at least six months lowers the risk of SIDS.
    • Avoid using baby monitors. The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages This usage because of safety issues and ineffectiveness.
    • Immunize your baby. So far, there is no evidence that routine immunizations increase SIDS risk. Some evidence indicates immunizations can help prevent SIDS.

    The Bottom Line

    While SDS usually has no cure, you can still take some steps to prevent sudden death in infants. That’s at least the case if you receive a diagnosis before a fatal event.

    Receiving any sort of diagnosis can be life-changing and cause different emotions.

    Make sure that you talk with your doctor together with your partner and see what are the first steps that you can implement for safe infant sleeping.

    If you feel the need, you can sleep with a mental health specialist about the condition and your mental health.

    They can help you deal with news better and cope properly with any changes in your medical status.

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