Sudden infant death syndrome SIDS is an unexpected death of a baby younger than one-year-old. It usually happens during sleep; therefore, it is sometimes known as crib death. In this article, we will highlight the causes, risk factors, and prevention steps for this syndrome.
The causes are still unknown although some research has identified that in some babies the cause of death might be associated with defects in the areas of the brain that control breathing and arousal from sleep. Medical experts have also highlighted several risk factors that put some babies at risk more than others of SIDS.
· The baby is born premature and has a low birth weight.
· The mother smoked during pregnancy.
· There is a family history of sudden infant death syndrome.
· The mother is younger than 20 years.
· The baby slept on his stomach.
· The infant sleeps on his side, he can easily roll on his stomach.
· Sleeping on a soft surface might block the baby’s airways.
· Sleeping in the parents’ bed.
· Exposure to tobacco after birth.
· Getting overheated.
Here are some steps recommended by medical professionals to help reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
· Take care of your health during pregnancy and get regular prenatal care. Don’t smoke or consume alcohol.
· Practice room-sharing is better than bed-sharing. Put the baby’s crib next to your bed without placing him or her to sleep next to you in your bed, at least for the first six months when the risk of SIDS is higher.
· Avoid overheating your baby dress the baby properly for the weather without over-layering. And don’t cover your baby’s head while he or she sleeps.
· Place your baby on a firm, flat mattress to sleep, never on a pillow or other soft surface.
· Cover the mattress with a fitted sheet and don’t use blankets, place your baby to sleep in a sleep sac to stay safely covered.
· Breastfeed your baby, research showed that breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS.
· Don’t expose your baby to smoke.
· Make sure your baby gets regularly checked by the pediatrician to check for any underlying health condition that might increase his risk of sudden death.
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