SIDS is the sudden and unexplained death of an infant. It is the leading cause of death among infants who are 1 month to 1 year old. SIDS should be diagnosed only when all other possible causes of death have been ruled out by a detailed evaluation of the medical history.
There is no specific symptom to diagnose the condition. A new study conducted shows that the condition can be prevented by putting babies to sleep in their own cribs instead of in their parents' beds. It is indeed a coincidence that the news has been released just during SIDS awareness month (October).
The research further points out that babies who sleep in an adult bed face a 40 % more risk of suffocation than their counterparts who sleep in standard cribs. The condition is also found to be more common among African-American infants than in babies of other races. The fact that these children are more likely to be put to sleep in adult beds or on surfaces other than cribs, such as sofas accounts for the increased incidence.
A number of factors have been identified for sleeping with kids including the inability to afford a safe crib. In addition bed sharing is supposed to promote breastfeeding and closeness.
A number of recommendations have been suggested by the research committee to reduce the risk of SIDS in infants. The first one that advocates putting babies to sleep in a separate but proximate sleeping atmosphere such as a crib, bassinet or cradle that is located in the parent's bedroom. This arrangement will pave way for more convenient breastfeeding and contact. In addition practices such as infants sharing beds with other children, sleeping with adults on a couch or armchair should never be encouraged.
Emphasis is also given to placing babies on their backs rather than on their stomach and sides. Moreover, babies should be put to sleep in a room that isn't overly hot on a firm crib mattress, covered by a sheet. The use of soft, cushy bedding such as pillows, comforters or quilts should be avoided.
Smoking during pregnancy increases a baby's risk of SIDS, and giving pacifiers at naptime and bedtime are associated with a reduced risk of SIDS.
The result of the present study has highlighted the steps to be taken to reduce the risk of SIDS in their infants. However, a considerable decline in the incidence would not be possible without sustained efforts from the parent's side.