What is SIDS?

SIDS, short for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is a cause for concern for parents of newborns. This particular condition does not have any one particular cause and parents, doctors, and researchers are all on the lookout for what could potentially cause SIDS. Generally, it is believed that SIDS is a condition that some babies are born with that makes handling some of the daily events that occur stressful. SIDS is not higher among any race or class, but spread out evenly. SIDS usually occurs in infants from one month to one year old that otherwise appear completely healthy. This condition causes an unexpected death and most deaths occur between 2 and 4 months of age. Babies that die from SIDS usually do so in their sleep and there is not usually any sign of suffering. Also, most deaths occur during the fall and winter months. More male infants die than females with a ratio of 60 to 40 percent. SIDS is diagnosed after every other alternative has been ruled out.

SIDS Risk Factors

The risk factors for SIDS do not mean they are the cause of SIDS or that babies with these risk factors will die from SIDS. The behavior and health of the mother during pregnancy is one thing that is looked at for babies who die of SIDS as well as the health of the baby en utero. Maternal risk factors include young mothers younger than 20, smoking during pregnancy, low weight gain, illegal drug use, poor prenatal care, anemia, urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases, and the like. These risk factors may be undetected, but cause a prenatal environment that is not what the developing baby needs.

SIDS is the leading cause of death for babies one month to 1 year old and it is believed that one out of every 1000 babies dies of SIDS. Mothers should do their best to create an excellent prenatal environment for their baby and after birth babies should be breastfed, kept cool and away from cigarette smoke. Over bundling baby may be a factor in SIDS, too, that should be considered.