Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, is the sudden death of an infant with no reason and explanation.
About “1,300 deaths due to SIDS, about 1,300 deaths due to unknown causes, and about 800 deaths due to accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed [in 2018]," states Centers for Disease Control and Preventation, "These deaths occur among infants less than 1 year old and have no immediately obvious cause.”
What Is SIDS?
SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome, "is the sudden and unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year old", as stated in Kids Health from Nemours. "Most SIDS deaths are associated with sleep, which is why it's sometimes still called "crib death.""
There is no exact definite answer as to why this occurs, which heightens many worries for young families with infants.
The Warning Signs
As published in WebMD, there are no warning signs of SIDS. Many of the times in cases, the children showed normal behavior until the sudden attack of this syndrome. This is what fuels the most fear for parents- that there are no ways to detect this, and that there is no specific cure for the child.
Possible Explanations To This Mystery
While there is no definitive answer pertaining to the exact reason(s) for the cause of this syndrome, researchers and scientists speculate that there may be reasonable explanations as to why this mystery occurs for infants to babies generally under the age of one.
According to the Mayo Clinic, "A combination of physical and sleep environmental factors can make an infant more vulnerable to SIDS. These factors vary from child to child." With their resources, below lists a compiled summary of what may possibly be a triggering reason.
The factors below are from materials found in the Mayo Clinic's website; The Teen Magazine does not claim ownership of below information in any form whatsoever.
Brain Defects- the area of the neurological system that oversees respiration and arousal of sleep may have been affected in which may result in deaths of SIDS.
Low Birth Weight- as premature infants are more likely to have underdeveloped brains, this, like above, may contain impact which could end with SIDS.
Infection in Respiratory System- according to the Mayo Clinic, many of the babies that were found to have passed from SIDS had a cold. This has led to the theory that the cold affected the breathing, eventually pointing towards SIDS.
Sleeping on Stomach/Side- this may lead to difficulty for babies to breathe.
Sleeping on Soft Surfaces- lying on top of a soft material such as overly plush comforters, mattresses, and waterbeds may lead to a block in the airway of a baby.
Sharing a Bed- as stated in Mayo Clinic: "while the risk of SIDS is lowered if an infant sleeps in the same room as his or her parents, the risk increases if the baby sleeps in the same bed with parents, siblings or pets."
Overheating- when the room is too hot, this may lead to a bigger chance of SIDS.
Published by the Mayo Clinic, some other risk factors may include:
Sex. Boys are slightly more likely to die of SIDS.
Age. Infants are most vulnerable between the second and fourth months of life.
Race. For reasons that aren't well-understood, nonwhite infants are more likely to develop SIDS.
Family history. Babies who've had siblings or cousins die of SIDS are at higher risk of SIDS.
Secondhand smoke. Babies who live with smokers have a higher risk of SIDS.
Being premature. Both being born early and having a low birth weight increase your baby's chances of SIDS.
The mother of the child may pass on the likelihood of SIDS during pregnancy as well:
"During pregnancy, the mother also affects her baby's risk of SIDS, especially if she: is younger than 20, smokes cigarettes, uses drugs or alcohol, [or] has inadequate prenatal care." writes the Mayo Clinic.
Reducing the Risk
While not a definitive cure, one can go about to build protective measures to help the baby sleep more safely. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, it is recommended to:
Place Baby On Back: when putting the sleeping baby on the bed surface, lay the child on the back. "Babies who are used to sleeping on their backs, but who are then placed to sleep on their stomachs, like for a nap, are at very high risk for SIDS. Preemies (infants born preterm) should be placed on their backs to sleep as soon as possible after birth[,]" writes NICHHD.
No Monitors for SIDS: NICHHD advises not to use heart or breathing monitors in the household in attempts to decrease the likelihood of SIDS.
Tummy Time When Awake: tummy time, or the method of allowing the child to stay on its stomach to strengthen its muscles, are recommended when the child is awake.
For more advice on reducing the risk of SIDS, click here.
Resources For You
If you're looking for resources to better supply yourself with beneficial organizations and more, below complies some amazing groups dedicated for the education and awareness spread of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Safe to Sleep Campaign (formerly Back to Sleep Campaign): educational campaign to spread awareness of SIDS, with materials to benefit your learning to better know about this subject.
March of Dimes: provision of education and information for mother-to-be
FDA- US Food & Drug Administration: identifies substances that should be on the lookout for to support preventing SIDS
For more campaign websites, click here.
How You Can Spread Awareness
In the light of October serving as the worldwide awareness month, below we'll be sharing some important ways you can help in spreading the word:
Events include: "office spring casual day, silent auction and raffles, EBay auction, 5k run/walk, sports tournament, church event, school event, email campaign with online contributions, Facebook & Twitter campaigns, friends & family event[s]."
Educational cards with lapel stickers are provided to all participants. Most events are held in memory of an infant who has died suddenly. To learn more about SFS or to register to hold an event go to www.springforsids.org.
Hold an Event
Support the American SIDS Institute by hosting an event of your own. Per their website, "An event to benefit the American SIDS Institute can help raise awareness about sudden infant deaths while raising much needed funds for research. For information about fundraising events call 239-431-5425 or email us."
Donate If You Can
To donate to the American SIDS Institute, click here to donate online. You can always also mail a check to American SIDS Institute, 528 Raven Way, Naples, FL 34110.