What is SIDS? And/or SUID Sudden Unexplained Infant Death?
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is defined as a sudden, unexplained death of an infant under 1 year of age that remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation that includes a complete autopsy, an examination of the death scene and a review of the clinical history.
Nationally about 3500 babies die each year of SIDS or SUID.
20% of SIDS deaths throughout the US occur while the infant is in the care of someone other than their parents. 14% of the deaths occur while the infant is in a child care center or in family day care.
For every homicide of an infant in the US there are almost 4 infant deaths by accident and 12 infant deaths from SIDS.
Sometimes called crib death but not caused by cribs
Not hereditary Not neglect
Not contagious Not child abuse
Not predictable-no warning Not anyone’s fault
Not caused by immunizations
Not the cause of every unexpected infant death
SIDS is the number one cause of death in infants from the age of 1 month to 1 year.
There are approximately 3500 deaths per year nationally.
SIDS occurs in families of all economic and social levels
SIDS is a silent death- occurs quickly
SIDS almost always occurs during a sleep period
90% of SIDS deaths occur before the age of 6 months
Peaks between 2-4 months of age
There is a higher incidence in males
SIDS is nobody’s fault
If a baby is used to sleeping on his/her back and is placed on his/her stomach to sleep the risk of SIDS is 4 times greater.
The baby appears to be healthy.
No other health conditions identified that would result in death.
Co-sleeping (sharing your bed or couch with an infant has been found to increase the risk of SIDS)
There are a number of factors that seem to put a baby at a higher risk for SIDS. These are not causes. The factors appear in higher numbers for SIDS babies than for the general population. A risk factor is an association, not a cause. Half of all SIDS cases do not have any of the following risk factors.
It is not known what causes SIDS. We do know that it is a functional birth defect that begins before the baby is born. Researchers have studied the part of the brain that controls breathing, waking, blood pressure, heart rate and temperature control. These are functions that the body normally controls automatically. Researchers believe that this defect occurs as the baby’s brain in maturing and the sensors that are responsible for giving information to the brain do not send the information. Because of these malfunctions the basic system that maintains that automatic functioning does not work correctly when stressed. The stressor might be sleep position, a cold, a soft sleep surface.
Mothers: young age-under 20
Moms who use drugs during pregnancy
Moms who get little, late or no prenatal care
Moms who smoke when pregnant
Moms who get pregnant less than 6 months after the last baby was born
Infants: Low birth weight baby
Babies who spent time in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Babies who are exposed to smoke or second hand smoke
Babies placed on soft sleep surface (waterbed, sheepskin, comforter, sleeping bag, etc.)
Babies placed to sleep on their stomachs
Gas trapping objects (comforters, stuffed animals, etc.) in sleep environment
Back to Sleep risk reduction practices.
* Learn CPR- remember we don’t know it is SIDS until after the autopsy.
* Discuss with parents what position the baby should be placed in and have a form that you and the parents sign indicating the sleep position you should use.
* Develop a policy on back sleep positions for healthy babies indicating that all healthy babies will be placed to sleep on their backs unless a medical condition requires a different sleep position.
* Take advantage of classes on emergency procedures, first aid and risk reduction.
* Caregivers should follow current recommendations for infant sleep position and bedding- if an infant dies while in your care and you have not followed recommendations you may be sued.
* Make sure babies are put to sleep on their backs
* Make sure the babies are in a safe crib, with a mattress that fits the crib and slats that meet safety standards.
* Assure that babies have time on their stomachs when awake while supervised by an adult so they develop their neck and shoulder muscles.
* Look through your center to make sure it is safe for children
* Make sure everyone washes their hands well.
* Talk to parents about safe sleep and other risk factors related to infant death.
* Make sure no one props a baby for feeding
After the Emergency:
The last time and place that the infant was seen alive and by whom.
The time, position and condition of the infant when found, and by whom.
The infant’s last feeding.
Any observations regarding the infant’s behavior.
Information sheets from The Infant Death Center and DHFS
American Academy of Pediatrics Updated 11/05 updates 11/2016