Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Parents of newborn babies do their best to keep them healthy. However, sometimes a baby dies for unclear reasons, even though they seemed fine. When this happens when a baby is less than one year old, we call it cot deathIt often occurs when the baby is sleeping and is difficult to predict.

What is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?

cot death refers to the unexplained death of an apparently healthy baby. Some also call it crib death, because the child usually dies in his/her crib.

The reason for this is not yet known. However, it appears that SIDS may be related to defects in part of a baby’s brain. That part controls a baby’s breathing and his/her awakening from sleep.

While definitive causes are not yet known, some factors have been discovered that put babies at additional risk. Similarly, some measures have also been identified that can help protect your baby from SIDS.

What Are the Symptoms and Causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?

There are no noticeable symptoms when it comes to SIDS. It happens suddenly and unexpectedly. A combination of physical and sleep environmental factors can make a baby more vulnerable to SIDS.

physical factors

Physical factors associated with SIDS include:

  • Brain abnormalitiesThe part of the brain that controls breathing and waking up is defective or immature.
  • low birth weightPremature birth or being part of a multiple birth can cause the baby’s brain to not fully mature, with less control over automatic processes such as breathing and heartbeat.
  • respiratory infectionThese can contribute to breathing problems.

Sleep environmental factors

Examples include:

  • Sleep on the stomach or side
  • Sleep on a soft surface
  • Sharing a bed with a parent or sibling can lead to accidental suffocation.
  • Overheating. Being too hot can increase a baby’s risk of SIDS.

When should you see a doctor?

If your baby is experiencing abnormal breathing, see a doctor for more information. In addition, parents who have lost their baby to SIDS need support and advice to get through the difficult times.


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How can you prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?

You can take some measures to prevent this cot death and keep your baby safe. Among which:

  • Lay your baby on his/her back when you put him/her to sleep.
  • Always use a firm and flat surface for your baby’s bed and keep unnecessary objects away.
  • Do not sleep in the same bed with the baby. Share a room, but not the bed.
  • Mothers should always breastfeed their babies if they can, as this is known to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Keep babies cool and comfortable when they sleep and do not cover their faces.

What Are the Treatment Options for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?

There are no treatment options for it cot death yet. But you can make use of the preventive measures mentioned above to help your baby sleep safely. In addition, you should also get your baby vaccinated, which may not prevent SIDS directly, but can prevent respiratory infections that can interfere with breathing.


It’s important to understand that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Has no cause and cannot always be prevented. That said, if you take the right measures, you can reduce your baby’s risks. Continue to see your doctor regularly during pregnancy and never miss your baby’s routine checkups.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What is the leading cause of SIDS?

A. The main cause of SIDS is gastric sleep. This is the main risk factor. If your baby sleeps on his/her stomach, he/she is at greater risk.

Q. How does a pacifier prevent SIDS?

A. When your baby sucks on a pacifier, the tongue should be positioned forward. As a result, it reduces the risk of upper airway obstruction.

Q. Why is stomach sleeping a SIDS risk?

Sleeping on your stomach is a SIDS risk because it increases the baby’s chance of rebreathing its own exhaled breath. This will result in the buildup of carbon dioxide and ultimately low oxygen levels. It is important to place babies on their backs when they sleep.

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