Lifestyle / Family

Chatsworth Rising Sun
3 minute read
3 Sep 2020
11:00 am

SIDS: The leading cause of death in babies

Chatsworth Rising Sun

Studies show that 28 to 52 per cent of babies who die of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).


Most moms prefer putting down their babies on their tummies because they believe this peacefully puts them to sleep for longer periods of time. What they are not aware of, is that it could pose danger to their child. Studies show that 28 to 52 per cent of babies who die of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

This is the sudden and unexplainable death of an infant younger than a year old and the leading cause of death in children this age. Most cases of SIDS are associated with sleep and babies who die of this syndrome show no signs of suffering. Referred to as cot death, there cause is unknown but there are risks associated with it.

Reduce the risk

Because SIDS doesn’t present specific symptoms, it can’t be diagnosed beforehand. It is often only diagnosed after all other possible causes of death have been ruled out. Here’s everything you need to know to reduce the risk of it happening to your child:

Sleep baby on his back from birth

Medical experts don’t fully understand the cause-effect relationship between stomach sleeping and cot death. It is, however, known that stomach sleeping increases apnoea – a condition in which breathing stops for more than 10 seconds during sleep – and that is more difficult for a baby to wake up while sleeping on his stomach.

Therefore, it makes back sleeping the safest, as a baby doesn’t sleep as deeply on his back as on his stomach. Many parents worry though that their child might choke on spit-up or vomit if he is placed on his back but this isn’t the case. Experts explain that any secretions will clear better when a baby is placed on his back. The windpipe lies on top of the oesophagus, so anything regurgitated from the oesophagus must work against gravity to be aspirated into the trachea.

Also Read: Should your baby sleep in a reclining chair?

Don’t overdress your baby

Parents tend to overdress their infants and place them under heavy blankets, which may cause them to overheat. Overheating increases the risk of SIDS, which experts say is common during winter months. Parents and caregivers are warned against overdressing babies and to keep their infants’ rooms at a comfortable temperature (21°C). Infants are also more likely to overheat when they are sleeping on their tummies as this raises a baby’s temperature.

Covering your baby’s head

Parents tend to cover the children all the way to the head with blankets when they sleep.Babies are at an increased risk of SIDS if their heads are covered during sleep. The blanket will cause a build-up of exhaled air around your baby’s face. This exhaled air doesn’t have enough oxygen, which can lead to SIDS or suffocation.

Also Read: Baby kicking the blankets in winter? A sleeping bag might be your option

Create a safe sleeping environment

Research found that infants are five times more likely to die of SIDS when they sleep on couches and soft mattresses, and the risk is 19 time higher if the baby sleeps on his stomach on a soft surface. It is your responsibility to make sure your baby sleeps on a firm mattress covered with a fitted sheet.

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