Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (or Cot Death as it is known in some countries), is the biggest recognized cause of death in babies under the age of 12 months.
This harrowing condition happens while the child is sleeping. Unfortunately, so far there is no known cure, or even a known explanation in fact, as to why some babies are affected by the syndrome while others aren’t.
Interestingly, according to child psychotherapist and award-winning mental health author Margot Sunderland, research around the world shows very low rates of SUDI in countries where co-sleeping is common. In China, where co-sleeping is taken for granted, SUDI is so rare that it doesn’t have a name.
SIDS is regarded as multifactorial in origin. An article by McVea in Journal of Human Lactation in 2000 reviewed the literature published between 1966 and 1997.The overall conclusion was that breast feeding is associated with a 50% reduction in SIDS risk but the quality of the studies varied.
Many of the studies did not exclude other confounding factors such as socioeconomic status, exposure to cigarette smoke, maternal education, or sleeping position.
For the latest study, investigators analyzed 185 cases of babies who died from SIDS in 10 Northern California counties and Los Angeles County from 1997 to 2000.
They compared the SIDS infants to 312 normal infants of a similar age and from similar socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds.
Back sleeping should be encouraged in order to ensure the safety of your baby during sleep. Avoid placing your baby on his belly or his side.
Though these position can seem to appear more comfortable – stomach sleeping and a side lying position during sleep can increase the risks of SIDS because there is greater chances of re-breathing the air they have exhaled in these positions which can make it difficult to get ample amounts of oxygen.
Make sure every component of your cot is sturdy and firmly attached.
Check the bars, the mattress base, and the drop sides, as well as any other panels or pieces for stability and for protruding knobs or hardware that may catch your infant’s clothing. The mattress should fit snugly inside the cot, coming within at least 25mm of the sides of the cot.
Any paint used on the cot should be lead-free to prevent future learning delays and neurological complications.
A carry cot makes an ideal first cot as it can be easily moved from room to room. It can be used for night-time sleeping, for car journeys and holiday travel or as part of a pushchair or pram.
Carry cots usually have a fabric-covered hood, which makes them perfect for all weathers. If a separate mattress needs to be purchased, it should be firm enough to support your baby while she sleeps.
SIDS is the most common cause of death in babies between one month and one year of age but the majority of babies who die of SIDS are under six months of age.
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