Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the unexpected and incomprehensible death of a seemingly healthy infant. This syndrome is frightening for all young parents. We will try to guide you as best we can to avoid it.
What is sudden infant death syndrome?
The name is quite ambiguous, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is defined as the unexpected and incomprehensible death of a baby under one year of age.
It usually occurs while the child is sleeping. The baby falls asleep normally and stops breathing when he or she was perfectly healthy.
It is the leading cause of death for infants under one year of age.
What is the difference with unexpected infant death?
For unexpected infant death (IID), the cause(s) of death are understood after the baby dies (cardiac, infectious, traumatic origin...) during an etiological workup.
If at the end of this workup, no cause is determined, it is classified as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
At what age can sudden infant death occur?
SIDS can affect a baby from 0 to 24 months. However, it is very rare for it to happen after one year.
Statistics of sudden infant death syndrome in France
|Between 250 and 350 cases of death per year||Peak deaths in the first 2 months||75% of deaths occur before the age of 6 months|
Source : National Observatory of Unexpected Infant Deaths
The good news is that this number dropped by more than 75% between 1950 and 1990 thanks to a prevention campaign to have baby sleep on his back. But still many cases could be prevented!
How to avoid sudden infant death syndrome?
Although the causes are hard to find, some links have been determined which help reduce the risk of SIDS.
Sleeping baby on his back
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) happens especially when the child is sleeping. Several measures are known to prevent this. Baby should always be put to sleep on his back, not his side or stomach, his back. From 6 months, when baby can turn on his own, it will not necessarily be necessary if he does it on his own.
Choose a firm mattress for baby
No soft mattress, cosy all soft. You want baby to sleep on a firm mattress. Don't add pillows, blankets and stuffed animals to avoid any risk of suffocation. If you're worried about him getting cold at night, use a sleeping bag that's appropriate for his size and the season instead.
Learn more about : How to dress baby at night
Don't overheat the room
The ideal temperature is between 18 and 20 degrees. A baby adapts better to cool temperatures and overheating would increase the risk of SIDS.
Of course this does not apply in summer :)
Sleep in the same room
It's best before the first 6 months to sleep in the same room as baby, not in the same bed, but in the same room.
Breastfeeding the first 6 months
It seems that breastfeeding has a protective effect on baby and decreases the risk of SIDS.
Yes, smoking is, as you know, bad for you so it is just as bad for baby. Some studies show that babies exposed to smoke in the first few months and those whose mothers smoked during pregnancy have a higher risk of SIDS.
Give your baby a pacifier
Pacifier sucking is thought to be associated with a decreased risk of SIDS. Why? It would seem that it prevents baby from rolling over onto his tummy, the main cause of the syndrome.
Of course, if he doesn't want it, we don't force it :)
Also, try during his waking periods to encourage his tummy time so that he muscles his little neck and back.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a concern for all parents who know about it. Remember that it is still a very rare occurrence and by taking all the precautions stated above, the risks are very low. Enjoy your baby and parenthood :)