“Researchers analyzed a database of 129,090 deaths from SIDS from 1973-2006 and 295,151 other infant deaths during that time period. They found that the highest number of deaths from SIDS occur on New Year’s Day: They spike by almost a third above the number of deaths that would be expected on a winter day.
The study doesn’t prove that anything is the cause of the SIDS deaths. (The number of other kinds of infant deaths didn’t spike significantly on New Year’s Day.) However, the researchers point out that there’s plenty of drinking on New Year’s Eve. They point to research that says the number of people involved in alcohol-related car crashes skyrockets on New Year’s Eve, well beyond any other day of the year.”
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a frightening thought to anyone especially to the parents of infants.
A study in the Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine has reported the use of a ceiling fan in a baby’s room was associated with a reduced risk of SIDS.
- Fan use during sleep was associated with a 72% reduction in SIDS
- fan use in warmer room temperatures was associated with a greater reduction in SIDS risk compared with cooler room temperatures
- the reduction associated with fan use was greater in infants placed in the prone or side sleep position vs supine
- Fan use was associated with a greater reduction in SIDS risk in infants who shared a bed with an individual other than their parents vs with a parent
- Finally, fan use was associated with reduced SIDS risk in infants not using pacifiers but not in pacifier users
Fan use may be an effective intervention for further decreasing SIDS risk in infants in adverse sleep environments.
This research was out of Kaiser Permanente based in Oakland, CA and is an important finding as the cause of SIDS remains unknown. It still is the leading cause of death in infants from one month to one year. The actual number of cases may be under-reported as these deaths are sometimes attributed to other causes.
Other preventative measures are to have:
- a firm crib mattress
- no cloth crib bumpers,
- no soft toys or pillows in the crib.
SIDS…this is one of the most frightening topics for any parent to think about much less discuss. But since The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that infants be put to sleep on their backs and not on their stomachs there has been quite a dramatic reduction in deaths from SIDS. In 2004 the incidence of SIDS was 1 in 1,800 babies would succumb to “sudden infant death” which was a drop from 1984 when it was 1 in 700.
SIDS is defined as the death of a healthy child before his first birthday. What is currently worrisome is the infant death rate from SIDS has remained fairly stable over the last several years and that the rate now is similar to that of 1998. There is uncertainty as to why this is…perhaps a difference in how these deaths are reported . One of the reasons is thought to be an increase in co-sleeping.
No matter what the reason, the fact that the rate is stable is not something that can be tolerated without taking some action.
It is thought that some babies are not able to arouse normally from sleep and then become oxygen deprived as they rebreathe their own carbon dioxide. This occurs more often when babies sleep on their stomachs. Increases in carbon dioxide slows down the heart rate and eventually leads to a respiratory then cardiac arrest.
So what are some of the things that a parent can do to prevent this from happening?
Here a few of the recommendations that appeared in an article in the January 2010 “Parents Magazine”
- Babies are safest in their own sleeping space, crib, bassinet, or a co-sleeper attached or near to the parents’ bed.
- American Academy of Pediatrics advises against bedsharing.
- Put your baby to sleep flat on his back, babies put to sleep even on their sides tend to roll onto to their tummies thus increasing their risk for SIDS
- Keep the crib free of soft objects, pillows, quilts and toys for the entire first year of baby’s life
- If you need crib bumpers use ones with breathable holes only
- Stop smoking during pregnancy and do not smoke after the baby is born…this increases a baby’s risk for SIDS
- Do not share your bed with your infant for the entire first year of your baby’s life
- Keep your baby in your room …there has been research that has found a decrease in the risk of SIDS when the mom is nearby at least in the first 6 months of life.
- Give baby a pacifier…babies who suck on a pacifier do not sleep as soundly therefore reducing their risk of SIDS by two thirds compared to babies who sleep without a pacifier.
- Breastfeed…in some studies done recently breastfeeding has been found to be protective but the reason this is so is still unclear.
- Keep baby’s room cool at around 68 degrees. A fan on in the room has also been found to be SIDS preventative as it keeps air flowing in the room and therefore less carbon dioxide will build up around the baby’s face.
- Avoid wedge-shape sleep positioners…baby can slide off and suffocate against it.
- Involve caregivers….this is very important as it is found that baby’s who are used to sleeping on their backs are more prone to SIDS if put to sleep on their stomachs, as they are not used to the build up of carbon dioxide around them. Well meaning caregivers may think they are doing a good thing by letting baby sleep on their stomachs. Make sure to inform them of the importance of back sleeping.
Hopefully this has been informative and taken some of the fear and worry from you by becoming aware of what you can do to help prevent SIDS.