Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Losing a child is devastating. It is even worse when no one can tell you why or how it happened. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a disease that causes the death of babies between 1 month and 1 year old and it leaves no trace of its presence. Seemingly healthy children just don’t wake up leaving their parents wondering what happened and what they did wrong.

Although the cause is unknown researchers have been able to identify some risk factors that are common to children who have died of SIDS, also called Crib Death. They show that SIDS occurs in male children more than female as well as those that are born prematurely and with low birth weight. SIDS is also more common in children who are African-American or American Indian. Other risk factors include being born to mothers who smoke or use drugs as well as babies born in the fall or winter months.

It is important to note that these are obviously just statistics and not a guarantee. If you have a son that was born in October, it is a good idea to keep a closer eye on them but SIDS is not necessarily going to be a problem for your child.

All is not lost if your child is part of the large group of children who fall within the parameters that the risk factors show. There are ways to reduce those risks.

Babies should always be place on their backs to sleep even for short naps. Choosing the right bed for your child is also essential. Babies should always be put to sleep in a bassinette or crib which has a firm mattress. Never allow you baby to sleep in the bed with you. A small child can easily become trapped between the bed and wall or between two sleeping parents and suffocate. Keeping soft objects away from the child’s sleeping area is also helpful. Soft toys are fine for when the child is awake and playing but not in the crib with them to sleep.

Even with all of this knowledge SIDS can still occur. No matter how much you love and protect your child there is no guarantee that this disease will not happen to them. When it does parents are left with not only feelings of grief but also of guilt. They blame themselves for the child’s death.

If SIDS has affected your life, don’t go through it by yourself. You are not alone. SIDS is the number one killer of children between the ages of 1 month and 1 year and there are plenty of other parents who know what you are going through. Find a support group or even a friend who has experience this tragedy. They will be able to help you realize that your child’s death was not your fault and there was nothing you could have done to prevent it.

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