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Robin Elise Weiss, LCCE

SIDS: Prevention Versus Lowered Risk

By October 24, 2012

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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) has long been a mystery to scientists. We don't really know why it happens, just that apparently healthy babies between 1 month and 1 year go to sleep and don't wake up. We spend a lot of time hearing about new things that we can do, like have baby sleep on their backs, breastfeed, avoid overheating, quit smoking and others. But there are also factors that are completely out of your control, the the age of your baby, the sex and the time of year. I think this often gets overlooked and parents who child dies from SIDS are potentially left feeling like they didn't do everything that they could to help protect their child.

This is an important distinction. Some factors that you as a parent can control and some factors you simply can't. As it stands today there is no perfect predictor and no cure, only the reduction of risk factors.

My nephew, Nathan, was born 21 years ago today. He died in March of 1992 of SIDS. In April 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics came out with the Back to Sleep Campaign. The good news for my sister was that Nathan was sleeping on his back when he died, she said she would have always felt guilty had that not been the case. But he was a boy, it was winter, he had been born prematurely and recently been ill with a respiratory infection. The bottom line: Do what you can.

What are you doing to reduce your baby's risk?

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Photo A. Ralston
Sources:

Sporadic Autonomic Dysregulation and Death Associated with Excessive Serotonin Autoinhibition, Audero, E. Science, July 4, 2008; vol 321: pp 130-133.

Use of a Fan During Sleep and the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Coleman-Phox, K, Odouli, R, Li, D. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008;162(10):963-968.

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