Have you heard of the term SIDS? You may have just overheard it and the fact that it is sometimes the cause of the death of infants. If you know nothing more about this condition than the fact that it is strongly linked with infant sleep, then you should try to improve your knowledge about it. After all, SIDS is the leading cause of death in infants from 1 month to one year. Knowing about SIDS might help ensure that you can help prevent your baby from having it.
What Is SIDS?
SIDS stands for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. 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 as a cause of death could only later be concluded by a medical expert.
What Triggers SIDS?
As mentioned, there is no clear single identifiable cause for SIDS. At present, researchers are still really trying to figure out the reason for it. Studies however seem to point out that some beliefs about SIDS causes are simply not true. It is known for example that SIDS is not contagious and is not a hereditary condition. SIDS is not even caused by suffocation.
There are some theories as to the possible causes of SIDS. Some experts think that SIDS could be caused by infections, respiratory obstacles or some inborn 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?
Of course, it cannot be predicted which babies will have this condition, but there are several risk factors which may increase the risk of SIDS. It is believed that mothers who have poor health during pregnancy increase the possibility that their infants could later die of SIDS. Unhealthy infants that are the result of poor maternal health or poor pre natal care could also therefore be candidates for SIDS. It is also believed that mothers who are smokers or drug users during pregnancy are also increase the risk of their infants. Of course, smoking in the presence of your infant after birth is also always unhealthy and might just be a risk factor too.
Note that SIDS cases mostly occur between 2 to 4 months. According to statistics, male babies also have slightly higher incidences of SIDS compared to female infants.
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 habis. One of the first major recommendations is that babies should always be put on their backs when they are asleep. It is also recommended that cribs should be kept free of clutter, toys, extra pillows and even blankets during a baby's sleep time.
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