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01 Jul, 2022
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SIDS – H&S Education & Parenting

SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) – What Every Parent Should Know!

SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome, every parent’s nightmare, is a sudden and unexplained death of a baby less than 1 year old. As most babies are found dead in their crib, SIDS is also sometimes referred to as crib death or cot death. Most of the time the cause of death is unknown, however, SIDS may be linked with defects in part of the infant’s brain that controls breathing and arousal from sleep. According to researchers, there could also be some risk factors placing babies at a higher risk for SIDS. The good news is that there are certain measures parents can take to reduce the risk of SIDS, such as placing the baby in the crib in a supine position (on their back).

Some Of The Infant, Maternal & Sleep Environmental Risk Factors:

As explained earlier, sudden infant death syndrome happens to any infant under the age of 1 mostly in the age group of 1-4months. Below are some risk factors, identified by researchers, that could possibly increase a baby’s risk:


  1. Gender- Baby boys are known to be at a higher risk than baby girls.
  2. Age- Ages 1-4 months are the most vulnerable to SIDS.
  3. Race- For unexplainable reasons, SIDS is more common in the non-white race.
  4. Positive Family History Of SIDS- Babies whose siblings have died of SIDS run a higher risk.
  5. Premature Babies Or Babies With LBW- Babies who are born premature or with lower birth weight have an increased chance of sudden infant death syndrome.
  6. Second-hand Smoke- Babies who live in a house where people smoke, have a higher risk of SIDS.
  7. Brain Defects- As mentioned earlier, sometimes there’s a defect in a part of the baby’s brain that controls breathing and arousal from sleep (it may not have matured or may not function properly), which can make them more likely to succumb to SIDS.
  8. Respiratory Infections- Many babies who die of sudden infant death syndrome, have had a cold or respiratory infection such as pneumonia which could have caused breathing problems leading to SIDS.


  1. Young mothers who have given birth and are younger than 20 years.
  2. Mothers who smoke, drink, do drugs during pregnancy and after birth
  3. Mothers who had poor/inadequate prenatal care


  1. Overheating- Babies who are overheated, such as dressed with many layers of clothing, or over wrapped are at a higher risk.
  2. Babies Who Sleep On Their Tummy/Side- Babies who sleep on their tummy/side can have difficulty breathing compared to babies lying on their backs.
  3. Sleeping On Softer Surfaces- Babies who sleep on not firm mattresses, or on a waterbed, can have difficulty breathing.
  4. Babies Who Sleep With Items In Their Crib- Padded crib bumpers, weighted swaddles, blankets & pillows all should be avoided as they can increase the risks for SIDS.
  5. Baby Sharing A Bed- Sleeping in the same bed with parents, siblings or pets can increase the risk for sudden infant death syndrome.

10 Tips For Parents To Help Reduce The Risks Of SIDS:

1. Mothers should get early and regular prenatal care.
2. Always place your baby on their back when putting them to sleep in the crib, not on their stomach or side.
3. Babies should be put on a firm mattress to sleep.
4. Keep the crib free from bumper pads, pillows, blankets & any extra bedding should be removed.
5. Encourage sleeping with the infant in the same room, but not in the same bed, at least for 6 months or until the 1st birthday.
6. Try to breastfeed exclusively, as this has shown to reduce the risk,
7. Use a pacifier without a strap or string as nap time, as it is shown to reduce the risk, however, if your baby doesn’t want it, don’t force it.
8. Dress your baby comfortably, don’t overheat your baby.
9. Avoid alcohol, drugs and smoking during pregnancy and after birth. There’s a risk of premature birth and LBW associated with these, along with other birth defects. Exposing baby to second-hand smoking also raises their risk for SIDS
10. Make sure your baby’s immunization status is up-to-date, as studies have shown that babies who have received their vaccines are at low risk.


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