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Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) refers to the unexpected, unexplained death of a child less than one year old.
SIDS is rare during the first month of life. It peaks at 2–4 months of age, then gradually decreases.
Experts don't know the exact cause of SIDS, though there are many theories.
Possible causes of SIDS include:
Area of the brain involved in regulation of breathing.1
SIDS is more common in infants less than 6 months old.
Factors that increase your baby's chance of SIDS include:
Other risk factors are more general and include:
Also, baby boys are more likely to experience SIDS than baby girls.
Babies that die of SIDS typically appear healthy. They might have had colds or gastrointestinal infections in the 2 weeks before death.
There usually aren't any warning signs that a baby is about to have SIDS.
All possible illnesses and causes of death must be ruled out before a diagnosis of SIDS is made. A complete investigation will take place including:
Emergency medical personnel should be called as soon as a baby is discovered not breathing. It's important to start
infant CPR be start right away.
You should seek medical care immediately, even if the baby starts breathing again. The cause of the incident should be fully evaluated.
Families may need grief counseling after the death. Some parents find
support groups helpful.
There is no way to predict which infants will die of SIDS. However, there are several things you can do that might help you lower your child's chance of SIDS:
*Please note that many babies older than 6 months of age are able to roll over. At that point, constant monitoring of sleep position isn't necessary.
Ask your doctor for more information about positioning your baby for sleep.
Other factors that may help reduce SIDS risk include:
Learn more about
safe sleep for babies here.
1. Brainstem image copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
2. There is no evidence these devices are useful.
Family Doctor (American Academy of Family Physicians), "Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)" on
Healthy Children (American Academy of Pediatrics), "Reduce the Risk of SIDS & Suffocation" on www.healthychildren.org
American Academy of Pediatrics SIDS Task Force. The changing concept of sudden infant death syndrome: diagnostic coding shifts, controversies regarding the sleeping environment, and new variables to consider in reducing risk. Pediatrics. 2005;116:1245-1255.
Galland BC, et al. Prone versus supine sleep position: a review of the physiological studies in SIDS research. J Paediatr Child Health. 2002;38:332-338.
Hay WW. Current Consult Pediatrics. 17th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2005.
Hunt CE, Hauck FR. Sudden infant death syndrome. CMAJ. 2006;174:1861-1869.
Kleigman RM, Jensen HB, et al, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2007.
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113764/Sudden-infant-death-syndrome-SIDS. Updated July 23, 2014. Accessed September 13, 2016.
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Nemours Kid's Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/sleep/sids.html. Updated October 2011. Accessed February 18, 2013.
10/23/2009 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance. http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Blair P, Sidebotham P, et al. Hazardous cosleeping environments and risk factors amenable to change: case-control study of SIDS in south west England. BMJ. 2009;339:b3666.
11/14/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths: expansion of recommendations for a safe infant sleeping environment. Pediatrics. 2011;128(5):1030-1039.
10/25/2016 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance. http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113764/Sudden-infant-death-syndrome-SIDS: SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Evidence Base for 2016 Updated Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment Rachel Y. Moon, Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Pediatrics Oct 2016, e20162940; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2016-2940.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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