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Guide Happy parents


number of advice: 20


number of advice: 18


number of advice: 15

Sudden infant death syndrome

advice in category: infant

The term sudden infant death syndrome curdles parents’ blood, mostly because we fear the unknown. It’s true that this syndrome is not very well diagnosed. But it is also very rare. Although you shouldn’t underestimate it, you don’t need to worry too much.

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden death of a seemingly healthy baby (from the 7th day to the 12th month of the baby’s life) during sleep. Each year ca. 180 babies die of this in Poland. It is most common in babies from 2 to 6 months old, in winter and autumn. Boys die of SIDS more often than girls. The risk is higher if the baby’s birth weight is low or the mother is addicted to cigarettes or alcohol.

It is believed that the cause of sudden infant death syndrome is apnoea, but the reason for this is still unknown. There are several hypotheses: brain stem damage that results in an immature baby’s organism inability to respond to lack of oxygen; clamping of the carotid artery if the baby lifts the head too high in sleep; a cardiac defect; bacterial infection, e.g. Escherichia coli.

It is incurable. But you need to react immediately, if you notice that your baby is suffering from apnoea. You have to start resuscitation and call for medical help. If mouth to mouth and nose insufflation fails (you can’t feel the pulse), you need to start heart massage without stopping insufflation. You have to carry on with the reanimation until medical help arrives.

Sudden infant death syndrome happens very rarely, and you can do a lot to prevent it. First of all, put your baby to bed on its back. Research shows that this decreases the risk of SIDS by half. If your baby is sick and has trouble breathing, you can lay it on one side. You must not overheat your baby. Remember to air the room well. The temperature should be 18-20 Celsius degrees. Do not put too much clothing on your baby or cover it too tightly. Your baby must be able to move its limbs freely. It is important that during the first months the baby sleeps in your bedroom, so that you have easy access to it and are able to react quickly. Make sure your baby’s day is regular. Routine will help the baby feel calm and safe. Never administer any medication to your baby without consulting a doctor. You should avoid taking cough medicine, e.g. linctus. Young, inexperienced parents can take advantage of new technology. You can buy special breathing monitors. These look like a mat that you put in your baby’s crib. If the baby stops breathing for 20 seconds or breathes less than 10 times a minute, the monitor will let you know.

Panic is the worst advisor and nothing will soothe your baby like your composure. First of all, watch and prevent. Sudden infant death syndrome is very rare and the chance that it will happen to you and your baby is very small.

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