Unexplained deaths of babies: Sudden infant death syndrome

To know more about what causes Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, doctors have to examine an infant's dead body to ascertain the cause of death. When sudden and unexplained death occurs in a newborn baby and the cause of death cannot be ascertained, even after examining the dead infant's body, it is known as a Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SID), or cot death. Doctors who are called in to look into the matter have still not been able to find the cause of SIDs. Most of the SIDs related deaths occur in babies aged between 2 and 4 months. A great deal of medical research and concerted efforts are made worldwide to get to the root of this problem.

What Are The Causes Of SIDs?

Even though a lot of research has been undertaken to ascertain the causes of SIDs, no clear cut answer has emerged about any single cause of SIDs. What has emerged from this research is that babies are only vulnerable till a certain age to contract various sicknesses, which can cause death as they become old. Some possible causes of SIDs are breathing problems, common viral infections and too much heat at very young ages.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

There have been many rumors circulating that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome has been caused by some mothers killing their infants by simply smothering the baby to death, but this, not the truth. Babies do contract a number of unexplained diseases and die of causes that have not always been explained by doctors. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is a largely unexplained phenomenon that is being investigated all over the world.

SIDs Prevention

Given the adequate preventive care as well as making use of other preventive measures, there is no reason why the infant cannot be protected from an early and unfortunate tragedy. Fortunately, one can take adequate measures and the good news is that there is evidence to suggest that the numbers of infant deaths occurring due to SID's are becoming few. From a high of 1,500 in 1971, when SIDs was first discovered, the number of SID deaths has drastically reduced and were 393 in 1997 and this fall can certainly be described as SIDs prevention. The following preventive measures are recommended:

DO NOT ever smoke in the house and same room where smoke can waft through the house and enter the infant's room. This is the number one rule to follow in SIDs prevention.

An infant should not be made to sleep on its back while sleeping. This is a safer method and though the baby is bound to turn over in his sleep, care should be taken to see to that it does not happen again. This is another method of SIDs prevention technique:

Use a nursery thermometer to monitor the infant's temperature and ensure that it does not get overheated. Ideal temperatures are between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This is an important step in SIDs prevention.

SIDs and kids SIDs and kids

SIDs and kids safe sleeping bags are an increasingly popular form of keeping kids protected and are useful for childcare givers, parents, and doctors. Making the baby's cot requires a few careful measures such as ensuring that the infant's head remains uncovered during sleep, using a firm and clean fitting mattress and using quilts, doonas, duvets, pillows, soft toys, and cot bumpers.

SIDs and statistics

SIDs and statistics are constantly changing. Infant mortality rates differ on all races, which stood at 6.76 percent in 2004. The figures then came down to .09 % in 2003. For whites, the figures revealed a similar drop from 5.72% in 2003 to 5.65 in 2004 and for Afro Americans, it was 14.01 in 2003 as compared with 13.65 in 2004.

SIDs monitor

SIDs monitor is an important step. There is a SIDs monitor system called BABYSENSE II, which fits two sensor panels beneath the mattress to constantly sense and respond to the baby's breathing and movements. It will cause an alarm to sound if the baby stops breathing for more than 20 seconds or if the breathing rate falls below 10 breaths per minute. In addition, this monitor may also alert the health giver or parent or nurse when these signs are indicative of high fever or cold or some other illness.

Though the exact cause of SIDs has still not been established, some risks associated with SIDs have been explained and need to be followed to reduce SIDs. Sudden infant death syndrome is on the decline as a result of studies that have vastly improved the knowledge about this awful disease. Proper care can help to eliminate it altogether, at some point in time in the near future. You must take care and cooperate with your physician and see to that these problems are avoided to the maximum.

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