Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, is the sudden death of an infant without a reason or explanation.
About “1,300 deaths from SIDS, about 1,300 deaths from unknown causes, and about 800 deaths from accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed [in 2018]“, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “These deaths occur in infants less than one year old and have no immediately obvious cause.”
What is SIDS?
SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, “is the sudden, unexplained death of a baby less than one year old,” as Nemours’ Kids Health states. “Most SIDS deaths are associated with sleep, which is why it’s still sometimes called “dead manger.”“
There is no definite, definite answer as to why this is happening, which heightens many concerns for young families with infants.
The warning signs
As published in WebMD, there are no warning signs of SIDS. Often in cases, the children showed normal behavior until the sudden attack of this syndrome. This is what feeds the fear of parents the most – that there is no way to detect it and that there is no specific cure for the child.
Possible explanations for this mystery
Although there is no definitive answer regarding the exact reason(s) for causing this syndrome, researchers and scientists believe that there may be reasonable explanations as to why this mystery occurs. for infants and babies usually under one year old.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “A combination of physical environmental factors and sleep can make an infant more vulnerable to SIDS. These factors vary from child to child.” Along with their resources, below lists a compiled summary of what may possibly be a trigger reason.
The factors below come from documents found on the Mayo Clinic website; The Teen Magazine does not claim ownership of the information below in any form.
brain malformations– the area of the neurological system that oversees breathing and awakening from sleep may have been affected, which can lead to death from SIDS.
Low birth weight– as premature infants are more likely to have underdeveloped brains, this, as above, can have an impact that could end in SIDS.
Infection in the respiratory system– According to the Mayo Clinic, many babies who were found to have died of SIDS had a cold. This led to the theory that the cold affected breathing, ultimately pointing to SIDS.
sleep on your stomach/side– this can cause breathing difficulties for babies.
Sleep on soft surfaces– Lying on soft material like overly soft duvets, mattresses and waterbeds can cause a baby’s airway to become blocked.
Share a bed– as stated in the Mayo Clinic: “While the risk of SIDS is reduced if an infant sleeps in the same room as its parents, the risk increases if the baby sleeps in the same bed with its parents, siblings or pets.”
Overheated– when the room is too warm, it can increase the risk of SIDS.
Published by the Mayo Clinic, some other risk factors may include:
Sex. Boys are slightly more likely to die from SIDS.
Age. Infants are most vulnerable between the second and fourth month of life.
Race. For reasons that are not well understood, non-white infants are more likely to develop SIDS.
Family history. Babies whose siblings or cousins have died of SIDS are at higher risk for SIDS.
Secondhand smoke. Babies who live with smokers have a higher risk of SIDS.
To be premature. Being born early and having a low birth weight increases your baby’s risk of SIDS.
The mother of the child can also transmit the risk of SIDS during pregnancy:
“During pregnancy, the mother also affects her baby’s risk of SIDS, especially if she: is under 20, smokes cigarettes, uses drugs or alcohol, [or] has inadequate prenatal care,” writes the Mayo Clinic.
Reduce the risk
Although it is not a definitive cure, protective measures can be put in place to help the baby sleep more safely. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, it is recommended to:
Place baby on his back: when placing the sleeping baby on the surface of the bed, lay him on his back. “Babies who are used to sleeping on their backs, but are then placed to sleep on their stomachs, such as for a nap, are at very high risk of SIDS. Premature babies (preterm infants) should be placed on the back to sleep because as soon as possible after birth[,]”Wrote NICHHD.
No monitor for SIDS: The NICHHD advises against using heart or respiratory monitors at home in an attempt to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Tummy time when awakeTummy time, or the method of having the child lie on the tummy to strengthen muscles, is recommended when the child is awake.
For more tips on reducing the risk of SIDS, click here.
Resources for you
If you’re looking for resources to better source beneficial organizations and more, below are some amazing groups dedicated to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome education and awareness.
Safe to Sleep campaign (formerly Back to Sleep Campaign): educational campaign to raise awareness about SIDS, with materials to help you learn about this topic.
March of Dimes: education and information for future mothers
FDA – US Food & Drug Administration: identifies substances that should be researched to support SIDS prevention
For more campaign websites, click here.
How to Spread Awareness
In light of October serving as Global Awareness Month, below we’ll share some important ways you can help spread the word:
From sids.org: “Spring-for-SIDS is a national event to raise awareness of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and raise funds for research. Please register to host an SFS (Spring-for-SIDS) event.”
Events include: “Casual Spring Day at the Office, Silent Auctions and Raffles, EBay Auctions, 5,000 Meter Run/Walk, Sports Tournament, Religious Event, School Event, Email Campaign with Online Contributions, Facebook Campaigns and Twitter, event between friends and family[s].”
Educational cards with self-adhesive backings are provided to all participants. Most events are held in memory of a child who died suddenly. To learn more about SFS or to register to host an event, visit www.springforsids.org.
Organize an event
Support the American SIDS Institute by hosting your own event. According to their website, “An event to benefit the American SIDS Institute can help raise awareness of sudden infant death syndrome while raising much-needed funds for research. For more information on fundraising events, call 239-431-5425 or email us.”
Donate if you can
To donate to the American SIDS Institute, click here to donate online. You can always mail a check to American SIDS Institute, 528 Raven Way, Naples, FL 34110.