Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the umbrella name unexplained death, usually during sleep, of seemingly healthy babies who are less than a year old.
SIDS is sometimes known as crib death because the infants often die in their cribs.
A new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics, a professional organization that counts 66,000 pediatricians among its membership, came out with a new study on Monday showing that “Most parents placed the infants in environments with established risk factors for sleep-related deaths, including positioning the children on their sides or stomachs; soft sleep surface; loose bedding; or bed-sharing.”
About 160 infants studied were picked from two hospitals in central Pennsylvania, and their mothers were approached about participation within 48 hours of giving birth. All mothers were over age 18 (the median age was 29), spoke fluent English, and lived with their children.
Most parents attended some college, and more than 80 percent of the mothers were married and living with their partners. Also, more of the participants were white and had higher socioeconomic and educational levels than the average for the general public.
The study worked by researchers placing video cameras in various areas of the house to assess the infants at home at ages 1, 3 and 6 months. Even though parents knew the researchers were watching and recording, the children were still placed in unsafe environments.
From the results below, the first three bullets for each age are regarding the initial spot the child went to sleep in. The fourth line indicates how many children were moved to a new location overnight, and it was determined that most of these children ended up either not sleeping on their backs (which is the recommended sleeping position), or having loose items in bed with them.
1 month olds:
- 21 percent were placed on non-recommended sleep surfaces
- 14 percent were not placed on their backs to sleep
- 91 percent had loose or non-approved items in the bed with them
- 28 percent were moved by parents to a new sleep position overnight
3 month olds:
- 10 percent were placed on non-recommended sleep surfaces
- 18 percent were not placed on their backs to sleep
- 87 percent had loose or non-approved items in the bed with them
- 18 percent were moved by parents to a new sleep position overnight
6 months old:
- 12 percent were placed on non-recommended sleep surfaces
- 33 percent were not placed on their backs to sleep
- 93 percent had loose or non-approved items in the bed with them
- 12 percent were moved by parents to a new sleep position overnight
In all three age groups, if the child was moved at some point in the night he or she was more likely to be sharing a bed.
The conclusion of the study suggests “the need to improve public education efforts about safe sleep practices.”
Most deaths due to SIDS occur between 2 and 4 months of age, and incidence increases during cold weather.
Other potential risk factors include: .
. smoking, drinking, or drug use during pregnancy
. poor prenatal care
. prematurity or low birth weight
. mothers younger than 20
. tobacco smoke exposure following birth
. overheating from excessive sleepwear and bedding
. stomach sleeping.
Safe sleeping for a child less than 1 year:
1. Let them sleep on their backs
2. They should sleep on a firm mattress in their crib. No sofa or other surfaces.
3. No extra beddings or toys in their crib at sleep time.
4. Avoid putting them to sleep with you in your bed.
If you find them not breathing, begin CPR. Call an ambulance or take to the hospital as soon as possible.
Do you know First Aid? Have you ever experienced SIDS?
You can read more about the study here.