SIDS or Crib death or Cot death, as the name suggests, is when sudden death of a one month to an year-old
infant occurs, most commonly in its sleep. This devastating cause belonging to the Sudden unexplained infant
death (SUID) is diagnosed by ruling out other symptoms (like suffocation, aspiration, abuse or neglect) that
lead to infant death. Out of all the causes that address SUID, SIDS or Crib death is the one with absolutely
no symptom alert and sadly speaking, the most common cause of newborn deaths.
Petrifying incidences of SIDS
however declined more than 50% since 1990s, post the initiation of effective sleep habit campaigns. This
mysterious disorder has raised major advances in science over correlations between sleep and homeostasis,
environmental and genetic factors and also biochemical and molecular abnormalities; directing raging
questions towards finding any remotely related cause of SIDS.
SUID is a term used for all sudden and
unexpected deaths regardless of the cause; unexplained death observed after a complete autopsy,
circumstances of death and clinical history studies are categorised as SIDS, accounting for about
80% of the baby deaths due to SUID.' Research has advanced with new models that associate with
speculating factors for SIDS like asphyxia (suffocation), subsequent hyperthermia
(body temperature above normal) when face pressed against the bedding, impaired cardiorespiratory
regulation related to heat stress and also the least talked about, innate vulnerability of the infant.
- Boys are more prone to death due to SIDS
- Newborns in the second and third months of life are most vulnerable to sudden death
- American Indian or Eskimo infants are more known to develop SIDS
- Babies who have had siblings or cousins die of SIDS
- Babies who live with smokers
- Premature babies with lower birth weight
- Pregnancy at a very young age, say 20
- Mothers affected with drug and alcohol abuse
UNFORTUNATE BEREAVEMENT - COPE WITH IT
To Seema it was nothing but her worst nightmare come true; her grief encompassed her existence and loss of her
precious "little one" was life shattering. Conceiving a child and building a future for it is an emotional,
social and a societal norm of humanity, but SIDS somehow manages to steal that opportunity from the unlucky
parents. However, life needs to find its way back and thus dealing with the pain becomes a mandate. Communicating
ones feelings with friends and family will help the grieving couple to a great extent; counseling too aids in
understanding the situation and emotions that the sorrowful couple goes through, just enough to anchor their
hope and reach a new perspective in life. Finally, as we call time the most powerful healer of mankind, giving
oneself time to grieve, to heal and to look ahead of the loss is an expensive, but worthy bid.
STEPS THAT HELP PREVENT SIDS
- Put your sleeping baby (nap time, night time or anytime) on its back
- Avoid soft toys, unnecessary blankets, quilts, crib bumpers, etc. around a sleeping baby
- Don't smoke around your baby
- Abstain from alcohol during breastfeeding
- Immunise your baby
- Don't give honey to an infant under the age of 1
- Dress the baby in light comfortable clothes, to avoid overheating
- Keep your baby warm, healthy, happy and safe!
After all your infant's best health is linked to your safe and sound life!