Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden, unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year of age that doesn’t have a known cause even after a complete investigation. This investigation includes performing a complete autopsy, examining the death scene, and reviewing the clinical history.
When a baby dies, health care providers, law enforcement personnel, and communities try to find out why. They ask questions, examine the baby, gather information, and run tests. If they can’t find a cause for the death, and if the baby was younger than 1 year old, the medical examiner or coroner will call the death SIDS.
If there is still some uncertainty as to the cause after it is determined to be fully unexplained, then the medical examiner or coroner might leave the cause of death as “unknown”.
Facts about SIDS:
- SIDS is the leading cause of death among babies between 1 month and 1 year of age.
- More than 2,000 babies died of SIDS in 2010, the last year for which such statistics are available.
- Most SIDS deaths occur when in babies between 1 month and 4 months of age, and the majority (90%) of SIDS deaths occur before a baby reaches 6 months of age. However SIDS deaths can occur anytime during a baby’s first year.
- SIDS is a sudden and silent medical disorder that can happen to an infant who seems healthy.
- SIDS is sometimes called “crib death” or “cot death” because it is associated with the timeframe when the baby is sleeping. Cribs themselves don’t cause SIDS, but the baby’s sleep environment can influence sleep-related causes of death.
- Slightly more boys die of SIDS than do girls.
- In the past, the number of SIDS deaths seemed to increase during the colder months of the year. But today, the numbers are more evenly spread throughout the calendar year.
- SIDS rates for the United States have dropped steadily since 1994 in all racial and ethnic groups. Thousands of infant lives have been saved, but some ethnic groups are still at higher risk for SIDS.
This month is SIDS awareness month. Talk to your doctor about SIDS and how you can protect your child.
Tags: baby health, SIDS, SIDS babies, Sudden infant death syndrome, take the right steps, unexplained death