The month of October is designated as National Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month. The purpose of this observation is to bring attention to this leading cause of death in children under the age of one.
SIDS is the unexplained death of a seemingly healthy baby that occurs during sleep. The cause is not completely known, however, it is thought to be related to a defect in the part of the brain that controls breathing.
Some of the risk factors for SIDS include:
- A low birth weight
- Having a recent respiratory infection
- Having a brain defect that controls breathing
- Gender ( boys are at higher risk than girls)
- Living in an environment with second hand smoke
- Having a family history of SIDS
- Having a mother who smokes or drinks alcohol during pregnancy
How a baby sleeps can also be a factor. The risk of SIDS may increase if a baby sleeps in a bed with another person, if a baby sleeps on their stomach, or if a baby sleeps on a mattress that is too soft.
There are a few ways to prevent SIDS from occurring. These include having the baby sleep on its back, keeping the room where a baby sleeps from getting too hot, keeping the crib as empty as possible, and having the baby sleep in the same room as an adult if possible. It is also thought that breast feeding for the first six months may help to prevent SIDS.
If you are pregnant, it is important to receive good prenatal care. Speak to your doctor about classes that you can take to learn how to properly care for your infant. You can also call Flushing Hospital Medical Center at 718-670-5000 and ask to speak to a maternity specialist.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.