Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

There is a lot of anxiety around Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. It is one of the biggest fears of most parents for their new born baby. It is a rare occurrence but to put your mind at ease we’ve found some ways to reduce the risks of SIDS.



What is SIDS?

SIDS is known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or Cot Death. This is where a seemingly healthy baby dies unexpectedly when they’re sleeping. They’ve shown no signs of distress before going to sleep or during the night. SIDS is rare but when it does happen it commonly occurs between the ages of 2-4 months old.


What causes SIDS?

Unfortunately there is no known cause for SIDS. Your baby can seem very healthy, showing no signs of bad health.


However, there have been some speculations into what can cause SIDS.

  • It is more common in premature or low-weight babies, and multiple babies such as twins.
  • Mothers who didn’t seek medical care, smoked, and drank alcohol all through pregnancy. If they ever exposed themselves (and therefore their baby) to secondhand smoke.
  • It is seen to be more common with young mums under the age of 20.
  • It has been suggested that babies can have a problem with the part of the brain that controls their breathing. If their breathing becomes restricted at any point they are unresponsive because the section of the brain that controls the breathing is damaged.
  • SIDS could be caused by a combination of unknown factors. Your baby is very vulnerable for their first couple of months.


Can it be prevented?

Remember that SIDS is rare. There is no sure way of preventing SIDS or knowing if your baby is susceptible. However, there are some ways you can reduce the risk of SIDS:


Put your baby on their back when going to sleep. It is the safest way your baby can sleep. Being on their tummy restricts their breathing and there is the risk of them rolling onto their front if they’re placed on their side.


Keep loose bedding out of the way. Don’t use blankets or pillows, your baby’s mattress should be flat and firm with a single sheet tucked in tightly. Place your baby’s feet at the foot of the cot to stop them wriggling down under any sheets during the night. Remove any soft toys as well, in case they restrict your baby’s breathing. To prevent overheating dress your baby in a cotton shirt; this should be enough to keep them at a comfortable temperature. Keep the cot away from radiators, heaters, fireplaces and keep the room at room temperature (18-23 degrees Celsius).


No co-sleeping. Don’t sleep with your baby in your bed. For the first 6 months you can have your baby in the crib next you in your room but never in the bed with you. The risk of injuring your baby is too high. Even falling asleep on the sofa with your baby isn’t safe, so if you feel yourself or your baby falling asleep but them in their crib.


Breastfeed your baby. Breastfeeding may reduce the risk of SIDS. Breastmilk can increase your baby’s resistance to infections.


Immunisations. Make sure you get all the immunisations available.


Don’t smoke, drink alcohol or take illegal drugs when pregnant or around your baby. Don’t expose your baby to any of these things.


Seek help from your doctor if you are worried about SIDS.


Source: Baby Centre & WebMD


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1 Comment

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  1. olutosin oketope, MPH says:

    Dear Cusson Baby,

    I am truly proud of the work you do.

    My name is Olutosin Oketope, a citizen of Nigerian. I recently received my master of public health degree from Tennessee State University and I currently serve as the ‘Sudden Death in the Young Prevention Project’ coordinator with the Metro Public Health Department, Nashville, Tennessee. This project is focused on training store workers in culturally diverse communities to train community members about safe sleep

    I see the good works Cussons Baby is doing around advocating for safe sleep practices among parent and it will be a great pleasure to partner with Cusson Baby in moving safe sleep messages to the community.

    I can be reached at the email provided below.

    Best Regards.