Understand the Risks to Prevent SIDS
Sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, is the unexpected death of an infant as old as 1 year of age, who was well prior to death and whose death remains unexplained after an autopsy, says Alfred Gitu, M.D., family medicine physician. Infants who are 2-9 months of age are at risk of SIDS, but the peak incidence occurs around 3 or 4 months.
Dr. Gitu says there are other risk factors for SIDS some that can be modified and others that cannot.
Modifiable risk factors include:
- Maternal smoking during and/or after pregnancy
- Infant exposure to secondhand smoke
- Parental history of alcohol or drug use
- Prone sleeping position lying flat and sleeping on sheepskin or with a pillow
- Bed sharing, especially when the baby is younger than 13 weeks of age
- Covering the baby s head during sleep
- The use of duvets, quilts, blankets, pillows or the presence of other children
- Baby sleeping in a room other than the parents bedroom
Nonmodifiable risk factors include:
- Low birth weight or prematurity
- Increasing parity mother had two or more previous live births
- Being male
Parents should know that SIDS is associated with more than one risk factor in 96 percent of infant deaths, Dr. Gitu says. The American Academy of Pediatrics has a number of recommendations to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Dr. Gitu adds that cosleeping a practice where the baby shares a bed or sleeps on a sofa with one or both parents is a risky practice and should be avoided. Sleeping in the same room as parents is beneficial, he says. But, no study has shown any benefit of cosleeping.
Building a Strong Core for Baby
Alfred Gitu, M.D.
Lee Physician Group
2780 Cleveland Avenue
Fort Myers, FL 33901