SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) is the death of a healthy infant under the age 1 that can not be explained even with an autopsy. It is the leading cause of death of infants 1 month to 1 year old. It usually occurs 6 months or younger and usually not the first month of life. SIDS claims the life of of about 2500 babies a year. It is devastating when a parent goes to check on their infant and finds him or her dead. They blame themselves since there is no medical reason for the baby’s death. Parents were once told to lay babies on their stomachs while they were sleeping. In 1992 parents were advised to lay babies on their backs or sides while sleeping. SIDS rates dropped dramatically. SIDS occurs more often in the winter months with the peak in January. There are usually no symptoms or warnings with SIDS deaths.
The baby is a normal healthy baby. There is no one particular cause for these deaths, but several factors have been linked to SIDS. The latest possible cause of SIDS is overdressing your baby. If you dress or cover your baby in infant wear so that he or she can not lose heat, then the baby could become overheated. It appears that when some babies become overheated they stop breathing. You need to dress your baby appropriately. The layer of clothing that keeps you warm will probably keep your baby warm too. If you are comfortable in a jacket, then your baby is probably comfortable too. The baby will not need extra layers of clothing and blankets. Check to see if your baby feels too warm.
There are other risk factors of SIDS. Smoking while pregnant is a major risk factor for SIDS. If you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, do not smoke. Breast feeding also reduces the risk of SIDS. Sleeping on a firm mattress and giving your baby a pacifier at night can also help reduce SIDS related deaths. To help reduce the risk of SIDS wait at least a year between pregnancies. Start your pregnancy off right with good prenatal care. SIDS is not caused by immunizations and is not hereditary. SIDS is not predictable nor is it anyone’s fault. All parents need to take a CPR class. Some hospitals won’t let you take your baby home until you have done this. If your baby is not breathing or moving call 911 and start CPR.