Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is not a disease or illness. It is the diagnosis used when an infant under one year of age dies suddenly. This syndrome can be particularly devastating for families because it occurs unexpectedly. An exact cause of death cannot be determined, even after a thorough medical and legal investigation, including an autopsy
Researchers have learned a lot about SIDS over the past three decades, but they still do not have a definitive answer to that question. Most experts believe that SIDS happens when an infant has an underlying vulnerability and is exposed to certain risk factors (such as sleeping on the stomach or in soft or padded bedding during a crucial development period).
Serotonin regulates breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure while we sleep. Researchers found that infants who had died of sudden death had lower than normal serotonin levels in the brain stem.
Experts continue to study the brain, the autonomic nervous system, the environments in which babies sleep and where they are cared for, infections and immunity, and genetics in search of answers.
How Can the Risk of Sudden Death be reduced?
Research shows several ways to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related causes of infant death. There's no guaranteed way to prevent SIDS, but you can greatly lower your baby's risk by following the recommendations below. If you follow these recommendations, you will reduce the risk of any death related to the baby's sleep, such as strangulation or suffocation.
Always Put your Baby to Sleep on Their Back
It is the most important step you can take to help protect your baby. The rate of deaths caused by SIDS has decreased by 50 percent since 1994.
Several studies have found that a baby's risk of SIDS is 1.7 to 12.9 times higher if he sleeps on his stomach rather than on his back. When newborns sleep on their stomachs, they are more likely to overheat, have pauses in breathing, and rebreathe the freshly exhaled air, which lacks oxygen.
It is also very important that you not put the baby to sleep on his side instead of on his back because he can easily settle his tummy later. Naturally, by the time your baby is 5 or 6 months old, they will be able to sleep in both directions, and it will be a challenge to keep them on their back at night. However, at that age, the risk of SIDS will begin to decrease, so from that age on, put him on his back, and then don't worry if he rolls over. Just make sure there are no soft things (like comforters or stuffed animals) in his crib that could increase the risk of SIDS or suffocation.
Keep in mind that laying your baby on his back all the time can cause him to develop a flat spot on the back or side of his head, called plagiocephaly or flat head syndrome. You can prevent this by making sure he spends a good amount of time on his tummy when he is awake to help him develop his neck muscles properly and give the back and sides of his headrest.
Mattress and Bedding
Put your baby to bed on a firm, flat mattress with no pillows, toys, or anything else except a fitted sheet over the mattress (it's okay to place a thin mattress pad under the sheet). Several studies link soft sleeping materials and surfaces to an increased risk of SIDS.
Several studies link soft sleeping materials and surfaces to an increased risk of SIDS. These include comforters, quilts, sofas, waterbeds, or those soft, bead-filled seats that take the sitter's shape. Parents should be warned that sleeping with a baby on a single sofa or recliner increases the risk of SIDS and suffocation. Even most regular adult mattresses are unsafe because they are often covered with padded bedding.
Some SIDS prevention groups suggest not covering your baby with any blanket.
If you think your baby is cold, dress your baby in warmer clothing such as one-piece pajamas that cover the feet, or put on a one-piece cotton onesie with a special blanket such as from Hussain Textiles be used to dress the baby at night.
Our baby blankets are a special kind of blanket so that your baby stays warm inside it.
Avoid using products that promise to reduce the risk of cot death, such as special mattresses or products designed to make the baby sleep in a certain position. Such products have not been proven to be effective or even safe.