What is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome?

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is unexplained sudden death seen during the sleep of a baby less than a year old. It is also known as Crib death. It is named so as infants die in their cribs.

Its cause is not known. But it can be said that there may be defects in the portion of the brain that controls breathing and arousal from sleep.

Cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Defects in the brain are seen in some children. This portion controls breathing and arousal from sleep hasn’t matured enough to work properly. Defects are seen in a chemical called serotonin that allows one nerve cell to send a signal to another nerve cell. These cells help to control breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and waking from sleep.

Another cause is low birth weight. Premature babies are at higher risk of having this condition. It can be said that baby’s brain hasn’t maturated completely, so he or she has less control over such automatic processes as breathing and heart rate.

Some children have respiratory tract infection like cold can be a victim of this condition.

Position during sleep plays important role in this condition. It is seen that the items in the baby’s crib and his or her sleeping position can combine with the baby’s physical problems. Both this poses problem breathing.

  • Lying face down on in a soft mattress can block an infant’s airway.
  • Sometimes sharing a bed with parents, siblings or pets can contribute to this condition.
  • If a child sleeps in a too warm a room it can lead to this condition.
  • Sleeping inappropriate places like a sofa can result in SIDS.

Risk factors for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

  • Sex: Boys are more likely to die of SIDS.
  • Age: Child of second and fourth months of life is affected most.
  • Family History: Those children whose siblings or cousins die of SIDS are at higher risk of SIDS.
  • Babies who live with smokers have a higher risk of SIDS.
  • Premature having low birth weight increases the chance of SIDS.
  • Babies who live with smokers have a higher risk of SIDS.

Some factors that are related to mother:

  • If a mother is younger than 20.
  • If she has a habit of smoke cigarettes.
  • If she has an addiction to drugs or alcohol.
  • If there is inadequate care during pregnancy.


  • It is a leading cause among babies between 1 month and 1 year of age.
  • Most deaths occur between 1 month and 4 months of age and 90% of SIDS deaths occur before a baby reaches 6 months of age.
  • It is a silent medical disorder that can happen to an infant who seems.
  • SIDS is not as suffocation and is not caused by suffocation.
  • It is not caused by vaccines, immunizations, or shots.
  • Causes of Sudden unexpected infant death.
  • Various causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Cardiac arrhythmias: When a baby’s heart beats too fast or too slow and affects breathing.

Entrapment: When a baby gets trapped between two objects, such as a mattress and wall, and can’t breathe.

Ingestion of object: When a baby takes something into the mouth that blocks the airway or causes choking.

Metabolic diseases: Conditions related to how the body functions that can lead to problems with breathing.

Suffocation: When no air reaches a baby’s lungs, usually caused by a block in the airway.

Trauma: When a baby experiences an injury.

Prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

  • Always place baby to sleep on his or her back, rather than on the stomach or side.
  • Don’t assume that others will place your baby to sleep in the correct position. Advise sitters and child care providers not to use the stomach position to calm an upset baby.
  • Always use a firm mattress and avoid placing your baby on a thick fluffy bed. Don’t leave pillows, fluffy toys, or stuffed animals in the crib. All this stuff interferes with breathing if the baby’s face presses against them.
  • In order to keep the baby warm, try a sleep sack or other clothing that doesn’t require additional covers. Never cover baby’s head.
  • Always keep the baby in your room with you rather than a crib for at least six months and if possible up to a year.
  • It should be kept in mind that an adult bed isn’t safe for infants. A baby can be trapped in various places in bed like mattress, bed frame, and space between mattress and wall. It may also have happed that a sleeping parent accidentally rolls over the baby and covers the baby’s nose and mouth.
  • Breastfeeding for six months lowers the risk of SIDS.

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