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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Verified By Apollo General Physician August 28, 2021 3356 0
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Parents of newborn babies try their best to keep them healthy. However, sometimes, a baby may die due to unclear reasons even though they seemed perfectly fine. When this occurs when an infant is under the age of one, we call it Sudden Infant Death Syndrome SIDS. It often occurs when the baby is sleeping and is tough to predict.

What is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome SIDS?

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome SIDS refers to the unexplained death of a seemingly healthy baby. Some also refer to it as crib death as the infant usually passes away in his/her crib.

The cause for this is not known yet. However, it seems like SIDS might be related to the defects in a part of a baby’s brain. That part controls the breathing of an infant and his/her arousal from sleep.

While no definite causes are known yet, some factors have been discovered that lead to infants being at additional risk. Similarly, some measures have also been identified which may help in protecting 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 occurs suddenly and unexpectedly. A combination of physical as well as sleep environmental factors can make an infant more vulnerable to SIDS.

Physical factors

Physical factors associated with SIDS include:

  • Brain defects. The portion of the brain that controls breathing and arousal from sleep is defective or immature.
  • Low birth weight. Premature birth or being part of a multiple birth may cause baby’s brain to have not matured completely, with less control on automatic processes as breathing and heart rate.
  • Respiratory infection. These might contribute to breathing problems.

Sleep environmental factors

Examples include:

  • Sleeping on the stomach or side
  • Sleeping on a soft surface
  • Sharing a bed with parent or sibling may lead to inadvertent smothering
  • Overheating. Being too warm may increase a baby’s risk of SIDS

When should you see a doctor?

If your infant experiences abnormal breathing, visit a doctor to know more. Furthermore, parents who have lost their babies to SIDS require support and counselling to get through the tough times.


Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

How can you prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome SIDS?

You can take some measures to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome SIDS and keep your baby safe. These include:

  • Put your baby on his/her back when putting him/her to sleep.
  • Always use a firm and flat surface for your baby’s bed and keep unnecessary objects away.
  • Don’t sleep in the same bed with the baby . Share a room, but not the bed.
  • Mothers must always breastfeed their babies if they can as this has been known to reduce 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 Sudden Infant Death Syndrome SIDS yet. But, you can make use of the preventive measures mentioned above to help your baby sleep safely. Furthermore, you must also get your baby vaccinated , which may not directly prevent SIDS but could avert respiratory infections that can hamper breathing .


It’s important to understand that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome SIDS doesn’t have a cause and one cannot always prevent it. With that being said, if you take appropriate actions, you can reduce your infant’s risks. Keep consulting your doctor regularly during pregnancy and never miss your baby’s routine  checkups.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What is the number one cause of SIDS?

A. The leading cause of SIDS has been identified as stomach sleeping. It is the most significant 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, it needs forward positioning of the tongue. As a result, it decreases the risk of the blockage of the upper airway.

Q. Why is stomach sleeping a SIDS risk?

Stomach sleeping is a SIDS risk as it increases the probability of the baby rebreathing their own exhaled breath. This will result in the buildup of carbon dioxide and ultimately low oxygen levels. It’s important  to place babies on their backs when they are sleeping.

Verified By Apollo General Physician
Our expert general medicine specialists verify the clinical accuracy of the content to deliver the most trusted source of information, making the management of health an empowering experience.

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