Have you ever heard of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome?

Most parents are not yet aware of the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. And those who know may think it’s their worst nightmare. Some parents stay up all night, have regular check-ups for their babies just thinking about it. While SIDS is rare, it is not impossible – that is why it is important for parents to know what this condition their kids are at risk of.

It is a rare case for newborn to infant babies with a risk of 35 to 100,000 being affected. From the number of 22,000 deaths of babies below one year of age, it has decreased since 1990 to 19,200 deaths in 2015.

And, as a parent, it is not something you should worry or panic about all the time. There are ways to lower the risk of SIDS, but first, let’s understand what it is.

  • What Is SIDS?
  • What Are The Causes Of SIDS?
  • The Mortality Rate Of SIDS In Singapore
  • The Chances Of SIDS In Lower And Higher Income Classes
  • Can I Prevent SIDS?

What Is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS?

SIDS

The Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS is a type of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) that is used to describe the death of a baby below one-year-old.

The baby’s death could happen where the baby sleeps or during their sleep. SIDS is the term used when doctors cannot comprehend or explain the death of the baby. There is no concrete research that can prove or explain SIDS, even with a full investigation of the baby’s death.

Other forms of SUID are strangulation, suffocation, choking or aspiration. 

SIDS is known to affect babies most from 1-month-old to 4 months of age, while the risk is lower for babies until six months. While the risks are lower for babies turning one, it is not impossible for SIDS to affect babies after one year of age.

So, it’s important to take SIDS seriously and practice sleeping guidelines for your baby.

What Are The Causes Of SIDS?

sudden infant death syndrome

While the death of a SIDS baby cannot be explained by research or investigation, clinicians do speculate and believe that there are mentionable factors that could lead a baby to SIDS.

Specialists believe that SIDS is risky for babies when;

  • babies are overheating
  • beds are too soft, crowded beds with pillows, stuffed toys
  • they sleep facing down or their face is covered, suffocating them or making them inhale the released carbon dioxide again
  • low levels of oxygen,
  • aspiration
  • accumulation of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream
  • their inability to wake up or get up from lying down or sleep
  • choking
  • the mother smokes during pregnancy
  • babies are exposed to secondhand smoke
  • premature birth
  • history of SIDS in the family

Note: While babies who relate to the above risks can be prone to SIDS, it does not necessarily mean they may go through it. Always make sure to attend to your baby’s paediatrician as scheduled. It also helps to have the paediatrician on speed dial.

The Mortality Rate Of SIDS In Singapore

sudden infant death syndrome

There is no definite number of cases reported in Singapore as of late. As to CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cases of SIDS in Asian or Pacific Islander ethnicity is lower than any other ethnicity.

Can I Prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome?

SIDS

As of current, there is no found research on how you can prevent SIDS, even while it is happening. However, you can lower the risk of SIDS and practice safe sleeping guidelines for your baby.

These factors lower the risk of SIDS;

  • Use pacifiers.
  • Swaddle your baby, but make sure they do not overheat.
  • Use firm beds for your baby.
  • Keep the pillows and stuffed animals at a minimum on their beds.
  • Feed or nurse your baby in an upright position.
  • Make sure your baby burps after feeding or nursing.
  • Avoid letting your baby sleep on their stomachs or their sides unsupervised.
  • Let your baby sleep on their backs, NOT on their stomachs or sideways.
  • Use fitted bedsheets for your baby’s bed.
  • Make sure your baby is properly ventilated. The nursery shouldn’t be too hot or too cold for the baby.
  • Co-sleeping may or may not be risky. Make sure you give your baby enough space to move around and breathe. Your arm or leg is too heavy for your baby.
  • Breastfeeding helps lower the risk of SIDS because babies rouse from sleep better than formula-fed babies. They are also in better moods.
  • Don’t smoke – or quit smoking during pregnancy.
  • Avoid overdressing your baby, especially if you will leave them unsupervised or in the crib.

In A Nutshell…

While SIDS is a rare case for babies, it is important to be aware and help raise awareness with other parents. There is no prevention, but you can always find ways to lower the risk of SIDS for babies by being more attentive and alert when it comes to your baby’s needs.

What do you think about co-sleeping with your infant? Does it help lower the risk of SIDS or make it even more possible?