What is SIDS and what do we know about it?
SIDS (also known as cot death) is the sudden and unexpected death of an apparently healthy infant. The death is unexplained by baby's medical history or autopsy.
What the statistics show is that most deaths happen during the first six months of a baby’s life, during winter and at night (even if it also could happen during day nap time, or even awake). Apparently, infants born prematurely or with a low birth weight are a greater risk. SIDS is also more common on baby boys than girls and on babies of mums under 20 years old, and mums who smoke during pregnancy.
In the UK SIDS affects approximately 300 babies every year. This number may sound alarming but it is rare and the risk of your baby dying from it is extremely low.
What may cause SIDS?
- The part of the brain that controls the breathing is undeveloped
- An unexpected heart defect
- Tummy sleeping
- Sleeping in soft bedding
- sleeping on pillow
- Exposure to tobacco smoke
- Over heating
What does not cause SIDS:
- Minor Illeness
Can we reduce SIDS risks and how?
Absolutely! There has been a decrease of 70% fo the cot deaths in the UK since 1991 when a campaign to prevent SIDS took place. Guidelines have been created to help parents to reduce the risks of cot death, you will find below the top 10 tips to follow:
- Keep the baby in the same room as the parents for the first 6 months
- Place the baby on their back to sleep
- Do not smoke in the same room than baby
- Do not sleep with the baby on couch or armchair
- do not use duvet or pillow for babies under one year
- Place the baby feet to foot position (feet touching end of cot)
- Remove all toys from cot as they can suffocate
- Remove cot bumpers as they prevent air to run over in bed
- use a Dummy as it keep the baby brain active
- Avoid co-sleeping as much as possible (use instead co-sleeping bedsides cots or cribs)
Have a look online for more guidelines about car seats, e-cigarettes, slings and more..
I hope that this post will increase parents awareness about Cot death in general and what to do to reduce the risks of that happening.
Below are NHS link to refer to if needed and an article about the "back to Sleep" campaign launched in 1991 and who save thousands of babies each years!
Thank you very much and see you soon in the next article that will be about sleeping techniques ;)
Cheers - Magda