Paediatrics Q17

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Overview

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) refers to the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a seemingly healthy baby under one year of age. SIDS is often a diagnosis of exclusion, made when other possible causes of death have been ruled out.

Prevention Strategies

Sleep Environment

1. Sleep Position: Always place the infant on their back to sleep, not on their front or side.

2. Crib Setup: Place the infant’s feet at the foot of the crib to prevent them from wriggling down under blankets.

3. Avoid Overheating: Do not overly wrap or bundle the baby, as overheating can increase the risk of SIDS.

4. Blanket Height: Any blankets should not be higher than the infant’s shoulders.

Bedding

i. Type of Bedding: Use flat sheets and blankets rather than a duvet.

ii. Avoid Pillows: Pillows can obstruct an infant’s airway; hence they should not be used.

Parental Behaviour

. No Smoking: Avoid smoking near the infant, as tobacco smoke increases the risk.

. Safe Co-sleeping: If you consume alcohol, sedatives, or any substances that impair your awareness, do not bring the infant into bed with you.

. Avoid Sofa Naps: It is dangerous to sleep with the infant on a sofa, due to the risk of suffocation.

By adhering to these preventive measures, the risk of SIDS can be reduced, although it cannot be eliminated. It’s crucial to consult healthcare professionals for regular check-ups and follow all recommended guidelines for infant care.

 

Further Reading: SIDS

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