All you need to know about sudden infant death syndrome

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Every year, thousands of babies under the age of one die unexpectedly. This tragic condition is known as sudden infant death syndrome or crib death since these babies are almost always found dead in their cribs.

sudden infant death syndrome

Always place your baby on their backs

What are the statistics on sudden infant death syndrome?

According to MedlinePlus, the leading cause of death in children between the ages of one month to one year is Sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS. This condition is likely to occur when the baby is from one month to four months.

What causes SIDS?

Health care professionals are still working to find out what really causes sudden infant death syndrome, but for now, the Mayo Clinic has identified the risk factors that can increase the chances of SIDS.

These two factors are:

Physical factors and

Sleep environment factors

Physical factors that can cause sudden infant death syndrome

1. Low birth weight

Low birth weight is a likely factor in SIDS because the baby’s brain hasn’t matured enough to be able to properly regulate normal automatic processes like breathing and heart rate.

2. Brain defects

Brain defects in babies increase the likelihood of sudden infant death syndrome. This is because the portion of the brain responsible for important functions like waking up from sleep isn’t working properly.

3. Respiratory problems

Babies who have recently had a cold could develop sudden infant death syndrome because they are still not breathing properly even after recovering from the infection.

Sleep environmental factors that can cause SIDS

Sometimes sleep environment can lead to sudden infant death syndrome. These are some of the issues can increase the risk of SIDS:

• Sleeping on a surface that is too soft
Placing a baby on a soft blanket or mattress can lead to a blockage of the airways.

• Sharing a bed with others
The risk of SIDS increases when the baby shares a bed with parents, sibling or other relatives.

• Placing stuffed animals on the bed
Stuffed animals and other toys can cause SIDS because there is a chance that they could land on the baby’s face and prevent proper breathing.

• Sleeping on the side or stomach
Placing a baby their side or stomach can lead to breathing difficulties.

• Heat
If the baby suddenly overheats while sleeping, there’s a chance that they’ll get restless and have trouble breathing.

sudden infant death syndrome

Your baby should sleep in your room for the first six months but in their own cribs

How to prevent sudden infant death syndrome

While there is no known cause for this problem, it is possible to remove the risk factors.

• Make sure that your baby doesn’t miss their immunization schedules

• Clear the infant’s bed and keep it as bare as possible

Don’t keep pillows, stuffed animals and other toys on the baby’s bed. Also remove unnecessary beddings like blankets, and extra bed sheets.

• Practice exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of your baby’s life

• Get the baby their own crib or cot

While is perfectly safe for the baby to sleep in your room, you should place them alone in their own cribs. That way, you eliminate the chance of having an adult roll over the baby and suffocate them. Besides, an adult mattress is not safe for a baby.

• Make sure the baby isn’t overheated

If the weather is hot, the there’s no need to cover up the baby when the baby sleeping. And if you do have to tuck in your baby, be sure their face is not covered.

• Put your baby in the correct sleeping position

Insist that anyone putting the child to sleep places them on their backs rather than on their stomachs or on their sides. Your baby must face up when they are sleeping.

• Your baby’s mattress must be firm and waterproof

• You can sleep in the same room as your baby for the first six months provided they sleep in their own cribs

• When you are tucking in your baby, make sure the blanket doesn’t go past their shoulders

• Make sure no one smokes around you or the baby

• Keep the temperature in the baby’s room normal: it shouldn’t be too hot or too cold

Sudden infant death syndrome has no known causes, but these tips should help you keep your baby safe.

Resources: MedlinePlus

Mayo Clinic

NHS

Also Read: 8 of the most bizarre allergies

Written by

Julie Adeboye