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SIDS: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Information

Outline: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also known as SIDS is the sudden, unexplainable death of a child who was in a healthy condition.

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SIDS occurs mostly in infants between the ages of one month and one year. It claims the lives of one in every two thousand babies per year. There has been a decline since previous years due to research on the topic, which has lead to prevention breakthroughs.

Although they have suggested ways, there is no sure fire approach to preventing SIDS from occurring. Some studies have shown that an abnormality in the brain stem which controls respiratory functions was responsible for the death, but this theory has yet to be set in stone.

What Is SIDS?

SIDS stands for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The term cot death is often used in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. It is associated with the quick and swift death of infants during their sleep. A parent could wake up in the morning and simply find the baby dead in his crib. This condition is a little mysterious because the causes are not completely known and SIDS could happen even to babies who are completely healthy.

SIDS is responsible for roughly 0.05%, or 1 death per 2,000 births in the U.S.

What Causes SIDS?

At present, the identifiable cause for SIDS cannot be determined. Doctors and scientists are still really trying to figure out the reason for it. There are however, some studies which point out that some beliefs about SIDS causes may simply not be true. It purports that SIDS is not contagious and is not a hereditary condition. SIDS is also not caused by suffocation.

Several theories point the possible causes of SIDS.

Many experts believe that SIDS may be caused by infections, respiratory blockages or some birth defects. There are also some who theorize that SIDS could possibly be caused by toxins and chemicals found in the baby's mattress, beddings and sheets. As for now, all these are theories that need further scientific backing.

What are SIDS Risk Factors?

Although it is not yet possible to predict exactly which babies will have the condition, there are some risk factors that may increase the risk of SIDS.

SIDS usually occurs between 2 to 4 months. Statistical studies also show that male infants have a higher incidence of SIDS phenomena compared to female babies.

Can SIDS Be Prevented?

Preventing something which does not have a clear cause is quite difficult. However, it is always a good idea to take some precautions by encouraging certain baby sleeping patterns or habits.

One of the first major recommendations is that babies should always be put on their backs when they are asleep.

A 2003 study published in Pediatrics, which investigated racial disparities in infant mortality in Chicago, found that previously or currently breastfeeding infants in the study had 1/5 the rate of SIDS as non-breastfed infants.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that pacifiers do reduce the risk. However some parents do not believe in the use of pacifiers due to future dental problems, and the difficulty of breaking the infant of the habit. SIDS is a rather unexplainable syndrome. As you can see many things are linked to it, as well as the many things that prevent it. SIDS is something that stays in the back of every parents mind during the first year of life and most parents find themselves doing anything and everything to prevent it.

Although there is no cure since the outcome is death, there is a lot to be done to prevent it from happening.

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