Posted on 10/20/2011
The month of October is designated as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Awareness
Month, helping to provide education on one of the leading causes of death
in children of less than one year of age. Consider this overview on sudden
infant death syndrome to learn more.
What is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome?
Sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, refers to the unexplained death
of a child who is less than one year of age, although SIDS usually occurs
when infants are between 2 to 4 months old. According to SUID/SIDS Resource
Center, a total of 2,453 deaths were attributed to SIDS in 2007. And while
the number of SIDS deaths per year has declined on average since then,
SIDS is still a large factor in the total number of infant deaths per
year in the United States.
While the exact cause of SIDS is unknown, research shows that some of
the potential causes may include:
- Abnormalities in heart rhythm control
- Abnormalities in the section of the brain that controls an infant’s
breathing during sleep and waking
- Changes in components of the immune system
- Changes in how serotonin functions within the brain
- Poor arousal response to asphyxia or breathing obstructions
There are several
factors that may increase an infant’s risk of SIDS, including:
- Low birth weight
- Premature birth
- Delayed fetal growth
- History of an acute life-threatening event or a SIDS death in a sibling
- Previous incidents of unexplained severe apnea
- Sleeping on the stomach or side
- Smoking during pregnancy or around infants
- Opiate, cocaine, or alcohol use during pregnancy
- History of urinary tract infection or anemia while pregnant
- Late or lack of prenatal care
It is crucial to seek emergency medical care as soon as it is discovered
that an infant is not breathing. CPR should be started immediately and
care should still be sought even if the infant begins breathing again.
It is crucial for the cause of the incident to be fully evaluated as well.
Whether your infant is in need of children’s emergency care, heart
care, or general pediatric services,
Sunrise Children's Hospital is here to help. Contact us at (702) 731-5437 for more information.