Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of sudden unexpected infant death, typically affecting babies between one month and one year of age. The cause of SIDS is unknown, but it occurs most frequently in children aged between one and four months, typically while they’re sleeping.
It can be difficult to properly diagnose SIDS as a cause of death in many cases due to the fact that it’s often only determined once other potential causes of death have been ruled out. Although its frequency has drastically decreased in recent years, it still remains a serious threat to newborn children.
Most SIDS deaths occur in boys during the fall, winter, and early spring seasons. Babies that are most often affected are also premature or underweight, have a sibling that died due to SIDS, live in a household with people who smoke, and often sleep on their stomach or side on a sleeping surface that’s too soft. Many of these babies may also overheat during sleep.
Additionally, certain risk factors are linked to a child’s mother, including childbirth at under 20 years of age, smoking while pregnant, and receiving minimal prenatal care.
The best way to prevent SIDS is to eliminate as many of these risk factors as possible. You can:
- Make sure the baby sleeps on their back
- Remove soft surfaces, such as fluffy blankets and toys, from sleeping areas
- Prevent smoking in the presence of the baby and the household in general
- Breastfeed your baby or provide the closest possible alternative, such as donated milk or formula
If your baby becomes unresponsive during sleep, please dial 9-1-1 to get emergency medical assistance immediately.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.