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SIDS-Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

What is SIDS?
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the sudden death of an infant under one year of age which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of the clinical history. (Willinger et al, 1991).
In a typical situation parents check on their supposedly sleeping infant to find him or her dead. This is the worse tragedy parents can face, a tragedy which leaves them with a sadness and a feeling of vulnerability that lasts throughout their lives. Since medicine can not tell them why their baby died, they blame themselves and often other innocent people. Their lives and those around them are changed forever.

That certainly was true in my case.My wife and I were never the same after we lost David,and it was only a year later that the marriage totally disintegrated.The worst part is having no one to blame.There is no warning.Our son was never ill,showed signs of early development,was bright,alert and laughing just a few hours earlier.He was born without complication in natural childbirth,a heathly seven pounds two ounce bundle of JOY!
If your child gets ill and you know there is no hope,you still have time to prepare,to have your goodbyes,and most of all you have something to blame.The same holds true in accidental deaths-you have an outlet for your anger.Not true with SIDS.Since there is none to blame you end up assigning blame to the innocent-your mate,your self,and sadly all to often to God.

Is There Hope? Reducing the risk of SIDS
When ever I hear of some new information on preventing SIDS it as an oposite effect on me then it should.Instead of being happy progress is being made,I am angry,as it makes me feel that I could have prevented my sons death.I know that is misplaced thinking,but those are my true feelings.

Unfortunately, we cannot expect to prevent all SIDS deaths now. To do so requires a much greater understanding of SIDS, which will be achieved only with a commitment from those who value babies and with a considerably expanded research effort. However, there are things that can be done to reduce the risk of SIDS.


1. Get medical care early in pregnancy, preferably within the first three months, followed by regular checkups at the doctor's office or health clinic. Make every effort to assure good nutrition. These measures can reduce the risk of premature birth, a major risk factor for SIDS.

2. Do not smoke, use cocaine, or use heroin. Tobacco, cocaine, or heroin use during pregnancy increases the infant's risk for SIDS. (both my wife and I smoked)

3. Take care to prevent becoming pregnant during the teenage years. If you are a teen and already have one infant, take extreme caution not to become pregnant again. The SIDS rate decreases for babies born to older mothers. It is highest for babies born to teenage mothers. The more babies a teen mother has, the greater at risk they are. (this was our third child,over a twelve year period,so no correlation here)

4. Wait at least one year between the birth of a child and the next pregnancy. The shorter the interval between pregnancies, the higher the SIDS rate. (in our case it had been 14 months between births so...???)


1. Place infants to sleep on their backs, even though infants may sleep more soundly on their stomachs. Infants who sleep on their stomachs and sides have a higher rate of SIDS than infants who sleep on their backs. (GUILTY!!I grew up hearing the stoiry about how I refused to sleep on my back,and so it was at MY suggestion that we placed our children on their tummies-you see why the research angers me?)

2. Place infants to sleep in a baby bed with a firm mattress. There should be nothing in the bed but the baby - no covering, no pillows, no bumper pads and no toys. Soft mattresses and heavy covering are associated with the risk for SIDS.

3. Do not over-clothe the infant while he/she sleeps. Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for you. Overheating an infant may increase the risk for SIDS.

4. Avoid exposing the infant to tobacco smoke. Don't have your infant in the same house or car with someone who is smoking. The greater the exposure to tobacco smoke, the greater the risk of SIDS.

5. Breast-feed babies whenever possible. Breast milk decreases the occurrence of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. Studies show that breast-fed babies have a lower SIDS rate than formula-fed babies do.

6. Avoid exposing the infant to people with respiratory infections. Avoid crowds. Carefully clean anything that comes in contact with the baby. Have people wash their hands before holding or playing with your baby. SIDS often occurs in association with relatively minor respiratory (mild cold) and gastrointestinal infections (vomiting and diarrhea).

7. Consider using home monitoring systems (apnea/bradycardia monitors) in an attempt to prevent sudden death in high-risk infants.The risk of SIDS in the following groups exceeds that of the general population by as much as 5 to 10 times:
Infants born weighing less than 3.5 pounds.
Infants whose sibling died of SIDS.
Infants exposed to cocaine, heroin, or methadone during the pregnancy.
The second or succeeding child born to a teenage mother.
Infants who have had an apparent life-threatening event.
Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of home monitoring with the baby's doctor before making your choice. Many communities have specialized programs for the clinical management of babies at high risk for SIDS. For information about the availability of such programs in your area, ask your baby's doctor or contact the American SIDS Institute. ( clinic page.)

Future Research


We join you in your grief,we lost our little girl Shawna in 2003.I found this post by accident almost as if God brought us here.Bless you for your efforts,we have made a donation in both your son and our daughters names,and I urge all other readers to do the same.
I feel for you, I have not been blessed with children, and I am 45
don't have much money, it does not
look promising for me

just pray for me my name is Ronnie
from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

e-mail is
That is hard to believe...But I am sorry for that tragedy. Be couraged. HE IS the one will wipe away every single tear.
Demos valera
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