Insidious SIDS - basic facts

Doctors use the term “sudden infant death syndrome” (SIDS), to refer to cases where a baby dies suddenly without apparent cause. The baby usually stops breathing during sleep and suffocates. The syndrome is very insidious because it has no symptoms by which you would know that your baby is at risk.

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22,000 infants around the world die of it each year. About 25 babies die of SIDS every year in the Czech Republic. What are the biggest risks? And can SIDS be prevented? We asked paediatrician Dr. Lucie Skalova.

Sudden infant death syndrome most commonly affects babies between the second and fourth month after birth. But it can threaten older babies too. At what age can SIDS attack?

The risk is greatest up to the age of 6 months, but it can occur up to 1 year. The risk of SIDS decreases as the child gets older. It also threatens full-term children. However, the specific causes of SIDS are still unknown.

International studies have revealed various risk factors that increase the likelihood of the disease. What are they?

Examples of the risk factors include sleeping on the tummy, the mother smoking or premature birth. Respiratory and heart rhythm disorders also increase the risk. Artificial nutrition, the child overheating (clothes, blankets, overheated bedroom), too soft a mattress or sleeping with the parents in one bed also have an effect.

What are the most important measures we can take to prevent SIDS?

The most reliable protection against SIDS is to eliminate the risk factors, i.e. don’t smoke, put the child to sleep on its back with its head turned on the side (not on its tummy), in its own cot. If the baby is sick more, place it in a raised position. Do not put a pillow or cuddly toys in the bed, use a harder mattress. If you can, breastfeed the baby. Do not overheat the room in which the baby sleeps and dress it appropriately.

You can also prevent SIDS by using the Nanny breathing monitor, which monitors your baby’s breathing movements and alerts you in time, both visually and acoustically, if it stops. In addition, the Nanny monitor is a certified medical device and is therefore used in maternity hospitals around the world. It is quick and easy to install, and just as simple to operate. What’s more, the monitor does not require any special service. Thanks to the long battery life, they are often inserted just the once, when first using your Nanny.

How does the breathing monitor work?

Each time the baby breathes in, the green light flashes. If the baby does not breathe in for 20 seconds or the breathing rate falls below 8 breaths per minute, the red light will turn on and an alarm will sound. Often, just the sound of the alarm is enough to wake the baby from a deep sleep so it breathes. If not, start resuscitation at once and call the ambulance services. You can learn more about first aid in the article How to Give First Aid to Newborns.

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