Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is a sudden and unexplained death, usually while sleeping, of a baby less than a year old. SIDS is also known as cot death or crib death because babies often die in their cots or cribs.
Usually death occurs at night although it can also happen during the day.
The cause of SIDS is still unknown. Researchers believe that occurs when there are a combination of factors such as immature or abnormal functioning of the heart or breathing and baby is exposed to some stressors like sleeping on the stomach or side or on a soft bedding.
Experts have discovered some factors that may put babies at extra risk and they have also proposed some mesures to take to prevent Sudden infant death syndrome.
- Put your baby to sleep on her or his stomach or sides
- Too warm or too cold room temperature.
- Excessive clothing and bedding and soft sleep surfaces.
- Bumper pads and stuffed animals are not recommended.
- Sharing the bed with parent. It’s recommended to sleep in the same room without sharing the bed because there are more soft surfaces to impair breathing.
- Smoke during pregnancy.
- Premature birth or being part of a multiple birth increases that a baby’s brain hasn’t matured completely so he or she has less control over breathing and heart rate.
- SIDS rates are higher when mother is under the age of 20.
- Short time between pregnancies increase babies’ risk.
- The most important method of preventing SIDS is putting your baby to sleep on his back. Avoid lying on the stomach and also on the side because on their side can easily end up on their stomach.
- Make sure there is nothing soft while sleeping that could goes by its face.
- Breastfeeding may be preventive. It’s recommended for at least six months to low the risk of Sudden infant death syndrome.
- Choose a firm mattress and a fitted sheet.
- Don’t place pillows, toys or something soft next to your baby as this could increase the risk of suffocation.
- Sleep in the same room as your baby but not in the same bed. If you still decide to sleep in the same bed, use an appropiate co sleeper.
- Use a pacifier. Sucking on a pacifier may reduce the risk of SIDS but if your baby doesn’t want the pacifier don’t force it. If the pacifier falls out of your baby’s mouth while sleeping don’t pop it back in.