Sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS is one of the worst tragedies any parent can face. In the classic SIDS situation, parents check on their supposedly sleeping infant to find him or her dead. Which explains why SIDS is also known as crib death. But what exactly is SIDS and how can you help lower your baby's risks?
What is SIDS?
SIDS is the sudden death of a seemingly healthy infant under one year of age which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of the clinical history.
SIDS risk factors
Babies are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome if one or more of the following risk factors are present.
- Babies who sleep on their stomachs
- Babies with low birth weight (especially less than 3.3 pounds or 1.5 kg)
- Babies whose mother smoked during pregnancy and who are exposed to secondhand smoke after birth
- Babies whose mother had inadequate prenatal care and/or nutrition
- Babies of teenage mothers
- Babies who are placed to sleep on soft surfaces (such as soft mattresses, sofas, waterbeds) or with loose bedding (such as pillows, quilts, stuffed toys).