A Look at Preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

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SIDS is Still Somewhat of a Mystery

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS as it is commonly known, is still somewhat of a mystery. It is the sudden and unexpected death of an infant under one year of age that can’t be attributed to any other cause. SIDS occurs most commonly in infants between two and four months of age, with most cases before the baby turns six months.


While researchers and physicians aren’t sure about what causes SIDS, it is believed that there is a dysfunction in the sleep-arousal cycle, where the baby’s nervous system isn’t able to sense a build up of carbon dioxide in the blood. Ordinarily, this signals that we need to increase our breathing rate or depth, or move out of a position that isn’t allowing us to get enough air. If a baby’s nervous system isn’t able to recognize this, they essentially suffocate themselves in their sleep.

The Factors of SIDS

There are no symptoms of SIDS and there is, unfortunately, no way to determine who will be affected by the syndrome. However, it has been observed that certain risk factors do predispose some children to developing SIDS. These factors include:

• Babies who sleep on their stomachs
• Being around cigarette smoke early in their life
• Babies who co-sleep (sleep in bed with their parents)
• Having soft bedding in their cribs
• Moms who had little or no prenatal care
• Moms who abuse drugs or alcohol
• Being premature or a multiple

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