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SIDS Prevention

What is SIDS?
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a medical term that describes the sudden death of a baby under 1 year of age. Because many SIDS babies are found in their cribs, it is also known as “cot death.” SIDS is the leading cause of death in babies between 1 month and 1 year of age. Most SIDS deaths happen between the ages of 2 to 4 months.

What causes SIDS?
Doctors still don't know what causes SIDS. Research of SIDS babies show that some are born with a defect in the part of the brain that controls breathing during sleep and the ability to wake up. Also, many babies who die from SIDS have respiratory or gastrointestinal (stomach) infections before they die. That may be why more SIDS deaths happen in the colder months of the year.

What can I do to make my baby safer?
Taking good care of yourself while you are pregnant might help prevent your baby from developing a defect that could put her at risk of sudden death. Eat healthy meals; don't smoke, take drugs or drink alcohol, and get proper medical check-ups. This may also reduce the chance of having a premature or low birth-weight baby (these can increase the chance of SIDS.) Here are other things to do:

  • Put your baby to sleep on her back on a firm mattress or other firm surface, even for naps.
  • Remove soft, fluffy, and loose blankets and stuffed toys from your baby's sleep area.
  • Breastfeed whenever possible. Breast milk can provide protection from some infections that can cause sudden death in infants.
  • Keep your baby warm during sleep, but don't let your baby get too warm. Keep the room at a temperature that's comfortable for you. Dress your baby in sleep clothing so you won't have to use a blanket. If you do use a blanket, make sure it's no higher than the baby's chest.
  • Don't smoke and make sure no one else smokes around your baby.
  • Take your baby for regular well-baby check-ups and routine immunisations.

Are there certain groups of greater risk for having babies with SIDS?
More boys are SIDS victims than girls.

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