Experts say - There is no absolute proof of the cause of SIDS.
- SIDS is a condition in which seemingly healthy babies between 1 month and 1 year old die without warning or explanation. It kills approximately 2,700 infants in the U.S. each year. (Study sees serotonin-SIDS link, Los Angeles Times, July 5, 2008)
- WARNING to Parents -
- The CDC reports that many babies are suffocating while sleeping. In 2009, 665 babies died from accidental suffocation or strangulation while in bed. Infants are dying from suffocation next to the soft, cuddly toys, crib bumpers, positioners, blankets, etc.
Babies can pull these items over their faces, cutting off air, or roll into a crib bumper and suffocate against the padded bumper. These items are marketed by the companies which are aware of this danger, putting profits over safety. Bumpers are marketed to protect babies; however, American Pediatrics has issued a specific warning about crib bumpers, warning parents that they can be dangerous, and should never be used in a crib. Stores in some cities have been banned from selling crib bumpers.
The CDC warns parents to sleep babies in an EMPTY crib to prevent babies from suffocating on any items. If your baby is younger than one year old, doctors say there should be nothing in the crib except the baby—no stuffed animals, pillows, toys or blankets. Place babies in zip-up sleep sacks which do not creep up around the baby’s neck. (Today Show, Center for Disease Control, May 16, 2012)
- New Guidelines - New sleep advice for parents and infants to help prevent SIDS. Infants should sleep in the same room as their parents — but not in the same bed — to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
The recommendations call for babies to share their parents’ bedroom for at least the first 6 months of life and, ideally, for the first year. This could reduce the risk of sudden death by as much as 50 percent.
“Room sharing makes a lot of sense,” said Dr. Paul Jarris, deputy medical officer at the March of Dimes.
The rationale is that having the infant within view and reach makes for easier monitoring, comforting and feeding. Because the baby is nearby, parents might notice any potential difficulty, Jarris said.
It’s important, however, that infants have their own separate sleep surface, such as a crib or bassinet. They should never sleep on a soft surface like a couch or armchair, the doctors’ group warns. Nor should babies sleep in the same bed as their mothers, the guidelines say.
But, since infants do feed throughout the night, the doctors recommend that mothers feed the baby in bed. “Babies should be brought to bed for feeding, but following feeding they should be returned to a separate sleep surface,” said report co-author Dr. Lori Feldman-Winter, a professor of pediatrics at Cooper Medical School in Camden, N.J.
“Breast-feeding can reduce SIDS by as much as 70 percent,” added Feldman-Winter. Because moms may sometimes fall asleep during feeding, the AAP recommends keeping the parents’ bed free of pillows, loose sheets, blankets and other soft bedding that could suffocate the baby, she said.
Each year in the United States, some 3,500 babies die from sleep-related deaths, including SIDS. The number of infant deaths dropped in the 1990's after a national safe-sleep campaign that emphasized placing infants on their back. However, momentum has stalled in recent years, Feldman-Winter said. (American Academy of Pediatrics, CBS News, October 24, 2016)
- Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) is now the preferred phrase over SIDS, with SIDS as a subcategory.
To reduce the risk of SIDS
- Always place your baby on her back, on a firm surface, with a tight-fitting sheet.
- Do not put the baby in the parents’ bed; but sleep in the same room as parents.
- Do not smoke around a baby. Avoid exposing the baby to alcohol and illicit drugs.
- Do not let your baby overheat during sleep.
- Only cribs which meet Federal Safety Standards should be used.
- Keep soft objects and loose or extra bedding, bumpers, pillows and soft toys out of your baby’s sleep area. The crib should be bare.
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
American Academy of Pediatrics (Oct. 24, 2016)
Pediatrics, October 24, 2016
- Serotonin-SIDS link. Scientists said that a chance discovery in mice genetically engineered to overproduce the brain chemical serotonin, died at an early age after developing symptoms similar to sudden infant death syndrome, suggesting improper regulation of serotonin might play a role in SIDS in humans. The majority of the mice died after being unable to regulate their heart rate and body temperature.
Their findings support autopsy-based results reported from 2006 in which researchers from Children's Hospital Boston led by Dr. Hannah Kinney found that infants who died of SIDS had abnormal serotonin-producing cells in their brain stems. Serotonin affects mood, and regulates bodily functions such as temperature, respiration and heart rate.
The study's author and head of the project, Dr. Cornelius Gross, said that the work could prompt clinical research "to devise diagnostic tests to try to identify those kids most likely to...die of SIDS." (Dr. Cornelius Gross, European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Monterotondo, Italy, journal Science; Study sees serotonin-SIDS link, Los Angeles Times, July 5, 2008)
- SIDS is the leading cause of death for babies between 1 month and 1 year.
- SIDS is given as the cause of 2,500 babies dying every year.
- Sleep swaddled babies on their backs. Cases of SIDS dropped over 50% nationwide when doctors began suggesting that babies sleep on their backs.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests using a wearable blanket
instead of loose blankets to keep your baby warm. Blankets like The
Halo Sleep Sack zip in the front like a sleeping bag.
- Make sleep sacks for babies
which do not cover the baby’s face, to reduce the risk of SIDS or
suffocation. Sleep sacks are blankets that are made into a cocoon-like
- Mimo Baby Monitor. This sensor, attached to a onesie, measures a baby’s breathing, body position, sleep activity, and skin temperature, and reports that information to a phone. This monitor costs $199 as of July 2015. (Lindsey Turrentine, CNET Explores World of Smart Clothing, CBS This Morning, July 7, 2015)
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