SIDS is the most tragic word that would frighten any moms or dads. It is the most terrifying, mystifying, and dreadful phenomenon that could happen especially to the newborns. What would be the causes of SIDS? Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or in short SIDS, is defined as the nature of babies’ death, which occurred in the first year of life without any apparent cause. The causes of SIDS are still troubled the mind of the professionals and SIDS reported as the leading cause of death for babies between 1 month and 1 year of age (as accordance to the U.S. National Institutes of Health). Although the unforgiving tragedy is decreased yet unstoppable because parents failed to realize that the threat is real, and it is happening around the world!
Even though there are lots of studies carried out, the real causes of SIDS still aren’t fully known and remain a mystery. One thing that we can do is to understand the SIDS risk factors and the possibility of occurrence. At one time, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS was once thought of as a random, striking healthy babies or unexpected incident, which made it all the more frightening but in reality, the possibility is always there. Here we outline 7 notable causes of SIDS that hope to provide some fundamental understanding upon the unforgiving death syndrome.
- 1 The Causes of SIDS: Sleeping Position
- 2 The Causes of SIDS: Cribs Condition
- 3 The Causes of SIDS: Cigarettes and Smoke
- 4 The Causes of SIDS: Birth Condition
- 5 The Causes of SIDS: Room Temperature
- 6 The Causes of SIDS: Cold Season
- 7 The Causes of SIDS: Sharing the Bed
- 8 In Conclusion of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
The Causes of SIDS: Sleeping Position
One of the most notable causes of SIDS would be the babies’ sleeping position. The babies who sleep with front-facing position would be mostly in a dreadful situation. The sleeping pattern known as belly sleeping where the sleepers will sleep with the face and stomach pressed against the mattress surface. The newborns don’t have the ability to lift their heads yet and this will result in suffocation due to lack supply of oxygen. While sleeping on their stomach will end up re-breathing their own exhaled air rather than fresh air. This means the infants will breathe more carbon dioxide (CO2) rather than oxygen (O2) and this creates an oxygen deficiency that can result in death. Carbon dioxide is an acidic oxide and toxic in higher concentrations.
Many professional recommended and also enforcing those babies should sleep on their back to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Alternatively, by putting the babies to sleep on side position with one arm forward to keep them from rolling over on their stomachs (frontal facing). There are fewer chances of suffocation if your baby is put to sleep on his or her back, or side. Some parents would also consider using a pacifier as your infant falls asleep during the first year of life. Nonetheless, have a regular prenatal checkup upon your infant, and follow your doctor’s recommendations.
The Causes of SIDS: Cribs Condition
The second causes of SIDS that have the significant impact and connection in most cases would be the cribs for babies. Most of the decease reports happen within the usage of unsafe or unapproved baby’s cribs. There is also that appears to be a connection between Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and babies who sleep on their stomach, particularly if placed to sleep on the crib with soft mattress which results in accidental suffocation. It is stated that most of the cribs for baby manufacturers do not follow the standard requirements set by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), the cribs’ certification of safety as set by Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA), and the voluntary standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
Among the conditions of baby cribs that would be the causes of SIDS:
- Due to the slats or bars of the crib railing less than 2 and 3/8 inches apart,
- Due to the cutout designs in the headboard or footboard,
- Due to the missing or broken hardware (screws, bolts, brackets, and etc.),
- Due to the drop-side failures result from both the hardware and crib design,
- Due to mattress support failures like wooden and metal supports.
Safety is always the first priority and the safest baby cribs should be the safety-approved crib. The baby crib mattresses should be firm that fits snugly and is covered with only a tight-fitting crib sheet. The mattress supports should be more durable and the best option is a metal spring system where the entire mattress is supported. The babies are safest sleeping alone in an uncluttered crib with placement on their back. Be advice, don’t put unnecessary items in the cribs like toys, pillows, blanket, or comforter, plus avoid any loose and fluffy bedding that can cause a baby to smother. The drop side features on a crib are very convenient but most recall cribs are due to function failures, thus convertible cribs are always the smartest investment with no worries of safety. It would be an advantage to learn the infant CPR and who knows it will prepare you in the event where you need to resuscitate your child.
The Causes of SIDS: Cigarettes and Smoke
Smoking is not good for your health and the secondary or secondhand smokers are in greater risk of inhaling the cigarettes smoke. Nicotine, the cigarettes primary psychoactive chemical is highly addictive and traditionally been one of the hardest addictions to break. This will invite much greater danger to your babies and moreover, cigarette smoke robs sleeping babies of much needed oxygen supply. Pregnant moms who used to smoke have been known to cause birth defects, which include physical and mental disability. Authorities found that smoking mother who smoked during pregnancy would give birth to a newborn are much shorter, low birth weight, prematurity condition and with smaller airways that make him or her more vulnerable to breathing problems after birth. Furthermore, infants who are exposed to tobacco smoke (mostly at home) are far more likely to suffer from respiratory illnesses, and can be easily infected by disease.
Mosquito sprays and coils are also considered as one of the SIDS risk factors or causes, believe it or not! Both are poisonous and polluting our air, although not as powerful as the cigarettes smoke, but in a long term it must have some effect to your health as well as your baby. Usually, using these pesticides close to a baby must be avoided. If using mosquito spray, follow the guidelines, and ensure to air out the room for no less than 20 minutes before bringing a baby into the room. If you possibly can smell the spray, keep the baby out. Furthermore, when spraying surfaces, like walls, beds, chairs, shelves, and the floor, bear in mind that this spray can be picked up through your baby’s skin when she touches the object. It could also get into his or her mouth and eyes as the gases wouldn’t evaporate that quickly on a surface as it does in the air.
Resource from WikiPedia:
Recent studies showed that the smoke generated from burning mosquito coil is of certain health concerns – one burning mosquito coil produces the same amount of particulate mass as 75 to 137 burning cigarettes would; and the emission of formaldehyde from one burning coil can be as high as that released from 51 burning cigarettes.
The Causes of SIDS: Birth Condition
Premature birth (preterm birth) and low birth weight babies are two notable and common causes of SIDS in the birth condition group, and they are more susceptible compare to others with complete terms. These two birth circumstances were the result of mothers who smoked during pregnancy period or have had poor prenatal care, where SIDS would most likely to occur. Furthermore, any children with diagnosed heart or lung conditions are at high risk, and the finding shows that boys are more vulnerable than girls.
Resource from Healthday at BusinessWeek:
Recently, doctors have found that babies who die of SIDS tend to have significantly lower amounts of serotonin than babies who die of other causes. Serotonin is a hormonal neurotransmitter closely linked to many of the body’s vital functions, including the sleeping cycle. A lack of serotonin is suspected to hamper a sleeping baby’s ability to wake up when its safety is threatened by a lack of oxygen or some other health hazard. (Research by Dr. Rachel Y. Moon; a pediatrician, SIDS researcher and associate chief of the division of general pediatrics, and community health at the Goldberg Center for Community Pediatric Health at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C).
And in some of the most recent research has found that serotonin levels of 35 babies who died of SIDS were 26 percent lower than those of babies who died of known causes. The SIDS infants also had 22 percent lower levels of tryptophan hydroxylase, an enzyme that helps made the serotonin hormone. (Research by Dr. Hannah C. Kinney; a neuropathologist at Children’s Hospital Boston and a professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School).
Most doctors had advice to give your baby a healthy womb environment. Even though the SIDS risk factors caused by premature babies are higher, the good news is over 99 percent of babies born with prematurity state do not die of SIDS, and that mothers-to-be can take pre-emptive steps to lessen their baby’s risk to SIDS with smart prenatal choices. Doctors also advise these mothers of getting good prenatal care, feeding yourself properly with lots of high-nutrition foods, and giving your baby a drug-free plus smoke-free womb are three great ways to decrease the risk of SIDS.
The Causes of SIDS: Room Temperature
It is very important to keep our body temperature within the normal state for healthier internal organ functionality. A phenomenon called hyperthermia is the overheating of the body by rises of body temperature or excessive heat absorbed. Overheating might interrupt the normal neurological control of breathing and sleep. The SIDS researchers accept as true that overheating caused the respiratory control center in some babies to fail and tend to be more restless due to abnormal changes in temperature. Over-bundling and consequently, overheating has been shown to increase the risk of SIDS. The raises of heat can be felt during the daytime, especially in most part of tropical and dry-land (desert) regions.
The baby skin is much sensitive with the rise and fall of surrounding temperature. Thus, keeping your baby comfortably warm but not too warm, otherwise overheating would occur. As a general guide, dress well and cover your infant in as much, or as little, clothing and blankets as you would put on yourself, and make sure your baby’s head is uncovered. In addition, babies who are sick tend to have fevers should not be bundled whereby bundling only increases body temperature. The recommended room temperature is between 70 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 25 degrees Celsius), or set it in your best judgment. Setting the air conditioner at the lower temperatures would release cooler air together with moisture, which is not healthy.
The Causes of SIDS: Cold Season
Every parent with newborns has to be on the highest alert during the winter against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. Most cases have indicated that SIDS deaths occurrence and risk increases during the cold winter months. This is what worries the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) as the increase in the number of baby’s deaths compare to summer or spring season. People in countries with long months of cold weather would have a greater challenge in stabilizing body temperature and fight against hypothermia. As a result, the solution would be the usage of extra blankets, clothing or heating that parents and caregivers give infants to keep them warm. An additional need in bedding may raise the risk of SIDS as it obstructs breathing and overheating due to extra clothing would also promote a further danger to your baby. Dressing up the babies in light and long clothing (no heavy clothing) for sleep, and keep the room at temperature that adult would find comfortable (setup the heater temperature at recommended setting).
The Causes of SIDS: Sharing the Bed
The last notable causes of SIDS would be the occurrences of ‘accidental death’ where the babies are not put to sleep safely are at risk of accidental injury or death. The baby can die of SIDS when the adults or an older child rolls over on the newborn baby while sharing a bed. One true fact, we could not control our body position while sleeping because everybody has their own sleeping patterns. A recent study also underscored the SIDS risk of sleeping on a sofa or bed because of falling down. The babies shouldn’t be put to sleep in the same bed with adults or other children, nor sleeping on a couch. It is recommended to put your baby to sleep in a separate place but at nearby location; the cribs for babies are the perfect spot.
In Conclusion of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
There is no way, method or solution to foresee whether a baby is at risk for SIDS. What is SIDS? It is the other translation of child grave caller. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome appears to result from a combination of various causes including breathing difficulties, underdevelopment of baby’s cardio-respiratory control functions, dangerous sleeping habits, and various medical conditions. For every parent, especially the new ones, it is advisable to fill-in your brain with sufficient knowledge, taking some proactive role, and courage to withstand against the risk. We hope that these outline of 7 notable causes of SIDS would do the favor of saving more life. Every living being in this blue planet is so precious; the babies are the world’s future. Always bear in mind that the threat is very-very real! May GOD bless all and thank you for continuing to support our baby blog.