One of the main fears of mothers of newborn babies is that their son or daughter will be a victim of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), also known as crib death.
Fear is not for free
This disgrace happens without any apparent reason and causes the sudden death of babies under one year of age.
Although there is still no absolute consensus regarding its causes, multiple scientific investigations have pointed out factors that could be related.
Follow the list
A list of recommendations has been elaborated to prevent it based on the evidence provided by the cases studied for decades. Follow them to the letter.
Some clues about its causes
Pediatrician expert Carmen García explains that SIDS “is one of the most known infant deaths and represents 35 to 55% of deaths in this age group. Death, as its name says, is sudden and without apparent cause”.
García points out that this syndrome occurs between two weeks and a year after the baby’s birth, but it is much more frequent in those under four months.
Over the years, various studies have been carried out to try to determine the causes of this syndrome; however, there are still no solid answers, only indicators, “The causes are still unknown, but it is very likely that it is due to a dysfunction of the nervous mechanisms of cardiorespiratory control.
Babies’ systems have not yet matured enough to solve, for example, suffocation or phlegm”, says García.
Among the most important findings about the possible risk factors that have been found around the world, according to the American SIDS Institute, are:
Exposure to nicotine, that the baby sleeps on his stomach, that older people share the bed with him and that the child has abnormalities in the brainstem that do not allow him to adequately deal with respiratory events.
7 rules to prevent crib death
There are some measures that can help you prevent this syndrome. Pediatric expert Carmen García offers you the most important recommendations to take care of your baby.
- 1. Do not miss your prenatal control: Prenatal care is essential to avoid premature birth, one of the factors that are believed to increase the risk of crib death.
- 2. Your baby should sleep on his back or on his side, in both cases with his head to the side. It is believed that the mattress could obstruct the airway of many babies who sleep on their stomachs and, unable to raise their heads on their own, have suffocated. On the other hand, putting the baby’s head on one side allows the little one to expel phlegm or milk, in case of regurgitation.
- 3. Use a firm mattress, avoid laying him on mattresses, lambskins or fluffy quilts. This will help decrease any risk of suffocation.
- 4. Keep the baby’s bed as bare as possible. Also, he should sleep without blankets, bumpers, stuffed animals or cushions. Any of these objects can entangle him and obstruct his breathing.
- 5. Do not share a bed, ideally your baby should have your own space to avoid the risk of being crushed by adults or other children during sleep. You can use a co-sleeping crib to keep him close to you without putting him in danger.
- 6. Sleep in the same room. You need to be very vigilant, as his neurological and respiratory systems are not yet mature enough to overcome some events on his own. The appropriate situation is that he sleeps next to you so that you can be as attentive as possible.
- 7. Do not smoke during pregnancy or close to the baby. Several studies have found a link between smoking and nicotine exposure with crib death. For this reason, it is important that babies are not near smokers and people must not smoke in the baby´s areas, since the nicotine remains impregnated in the objects.
Translated by: Ligia M. Oliver Manrique de Lara
Spanish version: Here