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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Prevention & Expectations

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Alternate Names : SIDS, Crib Death

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What can be done to prevent the condition?

Because the causes of SIDS are not known, it is hard to tell which specific babies may die of SIDS. So prevention is aimed at all babies and pregnant women.

THE most important action parents can take to prevent SIDS in their babies is to put them to sleep on their backs, whether at naptime or at night! Babies sleeping on their sides or stomachs are 2 to 9 times as likely to die of SIDS.

Babies who are exposed to smoke in the home have twice the risk of SIDS as babies who live in a smoke-free environment. Every effort should be made to provide a smoke-free environment, both before the baby is born, and in the home and any day care settings during the early months of life.

Other measures that can help prevent some cases of sudden infant death include the following.

  • Avoid fluffy blankets, covers, sheepskins, stuffed toys, and pillows in the baby's crib or other sleeping areas.
  • Place the baby on a firm mattress, not on a pillow or sofa, to sleep.
  • Don't let the baby overheat during sleep. Keep the room warm, but not too warm. The room should be kept at a temperature that feels comfortable to an adult. Too many layers of blankets or clothes can overheat the baby.
  • Make sure the baby's face and head stay uncovered during sleep. Tuck the blanket into the crib mattress, with the top of the blanket no higher than the baby's chest.
  • Don't put the baby to sleep on a water bed.
  • Put the baby on his or her stomach when awake and being watched closely. This can help the baby learn to strengthen shoulder and neck muscles.
  • During pregnancy, the expectant mother can take the following measures to help prevent SIDS:

  • Avoid drugs and alcohol.
  • Stop smoking, if she smokes.
  • Get good prenatal care throughout the pregnancy. Also, practice a healthy lifestyle, including eating the right food and getting regular exercise.
  • Also, the following actions can help maintain the baby's health, in general:

  • breastfeeding
  • regular well-baby checkups with the doctor
  • Attempts to prevent SIDS through the use of heartbeat and breathing monitors in the home have not been found to be effective and are rarely used.

    What are the long-term effects of the condition?

    SIDS often results in feelings of guilt, sadness, and anger in the parents and other family members.

    What are the risks to others?

    The risk to others involves the grieving process in those left behind.

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    Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Diagnosis & Tests


    Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Treatment & Monitoring

    Author: John Wegmann, MD
    Reviewer: Kathleen A. MacNaughton, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 09/27/02

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