Understanding and Preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

By on April 19, 2014

Although the rate is declining, it Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) still stands as one of the leading causes of infant mortality. While the causes of SIDS may not be clear, the risk factors leading to it are. As such, every parent, new and old, should be aware of SIDS and know how to prevent it. This article looks into what SIDS is, what causes it and how to prevent it from occurring.

What is SIDS?

Also known as “cot death,” SIDS is a rather unfortunate and unpredictable medial problem that causes the death of an infant, suddenly, without warning and without particular reason. In fact, its nature causes many authorities to blame parents for child abuse rather than diagnosing SIDS.

More often than not, identifying the root cause of SIDS is almost impossible at first glance. Only an exceptionally thorough examination can root out the cause and, in most cases, due to respect, it is not allowed.

SIDS research

The 5 Major Risk Factors of SIDS

The question “what causes SIDS?” is one that is asked often and, unfortunately, remains unknown, there are 5 major risk factors attributed to it. These include:


While it may be difficult to believe, the truth is that sleeping in a particular positions or places puts children at risk of SIDS. These include sleeping:

  • On their stomach
  • On the side
  • With the family
  • With stuffed animals
  • In a room too hot or cold

Passive Smoking

Many researches, including those done by the Office of the Surgeon General of the United States, have concluded that passive smoking increases the risk of SIDS due to nicotine.

Issues during Pregnancy

Events during pregnancy such as smoking, malnutrition, alcohol and anemia can all lead to this ‘instant’ death syndrome. In fact, pregnancy at a low age, particularly during teenage years, also increases the risk of SIDS.


As with many medical problems, genetics plays an integral role in causing SIDS. For example:

  • Male infants are more prone to die from SIDS
  • The infants of certain ethnicities, such as African American and African Indian, are more at risk
  • A family history of SIDS contributes to an increasing risk factor


Infants are prone to a number of medical issues at a particular age known as the critical development age – between 2 and 3 months after birth. One of the many problems includes SIDS.

Easy Ways of preventing SIDS

While not absolute, SIDS can be prevented in a number of ways, including, but not limited to:

  • Ensuring the child sleeps on its back
  • Giving pacifiers at night
  • Using baby sleeping bags
  • Keep a cot clear of toys
  • Change cot sheets to softer and more breathable material.
  • Have a firm mattress in the cot
  • Breastfeeding
  • Avoiding the mentioned issues pre and post-pregnancy
  • Using special SIDS Monitors (please check with a doctor first)
  • Acquire proper vaccinations
  • Acquire regular checkups
  • Using a co-sleeper instead of letting the infant sleep with the parents

SIDS is a major medical problem that can strike any infant. Equipped with the above information, parents can help prevent the syndrome from ever happening to their child. The information in this article is for informational purposes only. Always consult a doctor before using almost every preventive measure above.

About Yasmine

Yasmine is a Mom, Wife, and the woman behind BabyPrepared.com who is trying to help parents get prepared for the greatest gift on Earth.