Encyclopedia of Family Health - Vol. 15

By David B. Jacoby; Robert M. Youngson | Go to book overview

Sudden infant death
syndrome

Questions and Answers

A friend lost her baby and was
told it was a case of sudden infant
death syndrome (SIDS). How can I
protect my baby?

All you can do is care for your
baby as well as possible, and
follow basic safety measures. You
can learn about baby care at
prenatal classes. Try to breast-
feed, because this can help the
baby’s overall health. The baby
should sleep in a room that is
warm and free from drafts, and
should never be allowed to get
too hot or cold. You can check a
baby’s body temperature by
feeling under the crib covers. If
the baby is sweaty, he or she is
too hot and will need a drink of
cool water. If you or your partner
smoke, try to quit, and never
smoke in a room where your baby
is, because smoking is thought to
have a link with SIDS. SIDS is rare,
but always consult your doctor if
your baby seems unwell.

My sister lost her baby of four
weeks through SIDS. She is now
pregnant again. What is the risk
that SIDS will happen twice?

The chance that this tragic event
will occur again is very slight,
although, understandably, many
parents have a great fear of losing
another baby in the same way.
The chance of a second SIDS in
the same family is no greater than
the chance of a first SIDS in
another family.

Is it true that I should not put my
baby on her stomach to sleep,
because of the possibility of
suffocation?

No one knows what causes SIDS.
Doctors advise that babies sleep
on their back. Do not put your
baby to sleep facedown. There
should be no pillows in the crib.

Despite continuing research, the cause of SIDS is still unexplained. However, parents can take several measures to reduce the risk to their baby. Position and temperature are important factors.

There is nothing more tragic and disturbing for a family than the unexpected and unexplained death of a baby. An apparently healthy baby is put to bed in a crib or carriage. When next looked at, he or she is dead, and for no obvious reason.

This sad phenomenon, known as SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), is one of the most pressing and perplexing problems facing doctors. Some of the contributing factors that are thought to cause the syndrome are poor prenatal care, low birth weight, and exposure of the fetus to alcohol and tobacco. There are about 2,500 deaths from SIDS per year in the United States, but there has been a 52 percent reduction of SIDS deaths from 1990 to 2000. Educational programs produced by the American SIDS Institute have effected this reduction in deaths, and it Is hoped that additional research will eliminate deaths or at least reduce them further.

Sudden infant death syndrome is most common among babies aged between four weeks and one year, and they occur particularly between the ages of two and four months. There are more cases among boys, twins, and babies whose birth weight was low. SIDS also happens more during the autumn and winter (often coinciding with local epidemics of flu), and happens more often to babies who are bottle-fed rather than breast-fed.

There are no warning signs, and death can occur in the parent’s bedroom, in hospitals, in clinics—even while a baby is being nursed in its mother’s arms.

The recommended position for a young baby is on his or her back with the feet at
the foot of the crib, so that the baby cannot wriggle downward under the bedcovers.
The number of bedcovers should be appropriate for the temperature of the room
.

-2116-

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Encyclopedia of Family Health - Vol. 15
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Spastic Colon 2022
  • Specimens 2024
  • Speculum 2027
  • Speech 2028
  • Speech Therapy 2032
  • Sperm 2034
  • Sphygmomanometer 2036
  • Spina Bifida 2037
  • Spinal Cord 2040
  • Spleen 2044
  • Splinters 2047
  • Splints 2048
  • Sports Injury 2050
  • Sports Medicine 2052
  • Sprains 2056
  • Stammering and Stuttering 2058
  • Staphylococcus 2062
  • Starch 2063
  • Stem Cell 2065
  • Stenosis 2067
  • Sterilization 2068
  • Steroids 2072
  • Stethoscope 2074
  • Stiffness 2076
  • Stillbirth 2080
  • Stimultants 2083
  • Stitch 2086
  • Stomach 2088
  • Stomach Pump 2091
  • Strangulation 2094
  • Streptococcus 2097
  • Stress 2098
  • Stress Management 2103
  • Stretch Marks 2105
  • Sty 2112
  • Subconscious 2114
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome 2116
  • Suffocation 2118
  • Sugars 2120
  • Suicide 2122
  • Sunburn 2126
  • Sunstroke 2130
  • Suppositories 2132
  • Surgery 2134
  • Surrogacy 2141
  • Sutures 2144
  • Swellings 2145
  • Symptoms 2149
  • Syphilis 2153
  • Syringing 2156
  • Index 2158
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