Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of an apparently healthy baby under one year of age. Sudden infant death syndrome is sometimes known as cot death because babies often die in their beds.
Although the cause is unknown, SIDS appears to be related to defects in the part of a baby’s brain that controls breathing and waking from sleep.
Researchers have discovered some factors that may put children at greater risk. Also identify measures you can take to help protect your child from SIDS. Perhaps the most important thing is to put your baby on his or her back to sleep.
A combination of physical environmental factors and sleep can make a baby more susceptible to SIDS. These factors vary from child to child.
1. Physical factors
Risk factors associated with SIDS include:
Brain defects: Some babies are born with problems that make them more likely to die from sudden infant death syndrome. In many of these children, the part of the brain that controls breathing and waking is not mature enough to function properly.
Low birth weight: Being born prematurely or as part of a multiple birth makes it more likely that the baby’s brain may not be fully mature, so it has less control over automatic processes such as breathing and heartbeat.
Respiratory infection: Many babies who die of SIDS have recently had a cold, which can contribute to breathing problems.
2. Environmental factors related to sleep
The items in the baby’s bed and sleeping position can combine with the baby’s physical problems to increase the risk of SIDS. Examples include:
Sleep on the stomach or side. Babies placed in these sleeping positions may have more difficulty breathing than those placed on their backs.
Sleep on a soft surface: Lying on a soft quilt, soft mattress or waterbed can block a baby’s airway.
Bed sharing: While the risk of sudden infant death syndrome decreases if the baby sleeps in the same room with its parents in its bed, the risk increases if the child sleeps in the same bed with parents, siblings or pets.
– High temperature. Being too warm while sleeping can increase a child’s risk for SIDS.
3. Risk factors
Although SIDS can affect any baby, researchers have identified several factors that can increase a child’s risk. They include:
Gender: Boys are more likely to die from SIDS.
Age: Babies are at greatest risk between the second and fourth months of their lives.
Family history: Children who have siblings or cousins who die of SIDS are more likely to have SIDS.
Second-hand smoke: Children who live with smokers are at increased risk of developing SIDS.
Premature delivery: Premature delivery and low birth weight increase the chances of your baby developing SIDS.
4. Parental risk factors
During pregnancy, a mother also affects her baby’s risk of SIDS, especially if she:
– Under 20 years old
– You smoke cigarettes
– Use drugs or alcohol
She has inadequate prenatal care
There is no guaranteed way to prevent sudden infant death syndrome, but you can help your baby sleep more safely by following these tips:
1. Put your baby to sleep on his back, not on his stomach or side, every time you put your baby to sleep in his first year of life. This is not necessary when your baby is awake or can roll in both directions without help.
2. Keep the crib as empty as possible: Use a firm mattress and avoid placing your child on thick, thin stuffing, such as lambskin or a thicker quilt. Do not leave pillows, fluffy toys or stuffed animals in the crib, they can interfere with breathing if your child’s face presses on them.
3. Don’t overheat your baby: To keep your baby warm, try a sleeping bag or other sleepwear that doesn’t require extra coverings. Do not cover your child’s head.
4. Get your baby to sleep in your room Ideally, your baby should sleep in your room with you for at least six months, but in a crib alone, a cot or other structure designed for a baby to sleep in. sleep, and, if possible, up to a year. Adult beds are not safe for babies. Baby can become trapped and suffocate between the slats of the headboard, the space between the mattress and the bed frame, or the space between the mattress and the wall. A child can also suffocate if the sleeping parent accidentally turns over and covers the child’s nose and mouth.
5. Offer your baby a pacifier: Sucking on a pacifier without a strap or string during naps and bedtime can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. One caveat – if you’re breastfeeding, wait to introduce a pacifier to your baby until he’s 3 to 4 weeks old and you’re settled into a feeding routine.
6. If your child is not interested in a pacifier, do not force him to do so. Try again another day. If a pacifier falls out of your child’s mouth while he is sleeping, do not put it back in his mouth.
7. Immunize your child with vaccinations: There is no evidence that routine vaccinations increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Some evidence suggests that immunizations may help prevent SIDS.
early childhood specialist
University of Jordan