Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death of a baby during the first 12 months of its life.

Overview

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death of a baby during the first 12 months of its life. Risk factors include, among others, sleeping on the stomach, parents who smoke, overheating and a too soft mattress.

Causes and treatment

Causes

The causes are mostly unclear, but some risk factors have been identified:

  • Sleeping on the stomach
  • Parents who smoke
  • Child is too warm while sleeping
  • The mattress is too soft, too many soft toys (can obstruct breathing)
  • Sleeping in the same bed as the parents

Sudden infant death (cot death) is always diagnosed by a process of elimination: only when all other possible causes have been ruled out can cot death be diagnosed.

What can I do myself?

The following measures can help minimise the risk of sudden infant death:

  • Place babies on their back to sleep
  • Use a firm mattress
  • Let babies sleeping in their own bed (rather than the parents’)
  • Smoke-free environment (already during pregnancy)
  • Do not let babies get too hot
    • Bedroom temperature of 18 degrees
    • Do not use blankets that are too warm
    • Do not cover the baby's head while sleeping
    • Do not use lambskin padding etc. in the bed

Further information

SIDS Switzerland
www.sids.ch

Synonyms

cot death, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, SIDS, sudden infant death

Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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