Whether you’re a parent or not, it’s highly likely that you’ve heard of SIDS. This notorious combination of letters has long been feared around the world, not only by parents of newborn children, but just as equally by the medical community.
SIDS And How It Continues To Elude The Experts
Sudden infant death syndrome has long been claiming victims around the world. Sadly, it might just continue to do so as up until now, medical experts still don’t have a clue as to just what particularly triggers it. Of course, since this is the case, then doctors are also unable to issue concrete advice as to when it can happen to your child. We parents can continue to live in anxiety, or we can do all we can to educate ourselves about this child killer.
The Risk Factors
SIDS can happen anytime and anywhere. While experts have yet to pinpoint its exact cause, we parents at least are warned about the factors that can increase the potentials of the syndrome from happening to our child.
A handful of particular situations can make a still unborn child more prone to SIDS. These are:
• SIDS is more likely to happen to a child of a young teenage mother.
• Lack or complete absence of prenatal care is one other identified risk factor. It seems that the lack of proper attention to the pregnant mother, and by extension to the fetus as well, is the culprit. When there is no prenatal care, or if it had been sought quite late into the pregnancy, the fetus then doesn’t get the adequate nourishment it needs. This is why most pregnant mothers who failed to receive prenatal care either bear their children earlier than the term, or bear a child who is lighter than the normal weight range. Both these situations make the child generally less healthy, thus making them more susceptible to dying in their sleep.
• An unborn child’s exposure to nicotine can be a contributing factor as well. Fetuses that have been exposed to this harmful substance are again generally less healthy, and they will most likely end up getting born early in the term or underweight.
Once baby is born, he or she is still susceptible to SIDS especially during the first 4 months. Furthermore, the child likely succumbing to SIDS can be blamed to a number of these factors:
1. Not breastfeeding the newborn can make SIDS a higher possibility. For one, the baby won’t be able to receive the antibodies that are naturally present in the mother’s milk. These antibodies are crucial as these strengthen the newborn’s resistance to a number of illnesses. Secondly, not breastfeeding also exposes the child to pathogens that commonly live in moist items such as feeding bottles.
2. Using baby items, especially ones that come in contact to baby’s mouth, without first cleaning and sterilizing the former thoroughly, is another culprit too. In fact, studies have found that babies who died of SIDS have abnormal concentrations of the microbes E. coli and staph in their bodies.
3. Exposure to nicotine can be risky to a child under one-year of age as well. Babies who were claimed by SIDS have been found to contain cotinine in their bodies. Doctors call cotinine a bio-markerand presence of this indicates inhalation of secondhand smoke.
4. Exposure to harmful nitrogen oxides, common by-products of HVAC systems, is a risk factor too.
5. Molds can likely increase the potential of SIDS from happening as well. Molds have been found to induce lung bleeding on otherwise healthy adults. So naturally, its effect is even more dangerous to a newborn’s still delicate and underdeveloped lungs.
6. Sleeping positions have been pinpointed as a risk factor too. Babies that are put to sleep on their tummies face a higher likelihood of succumbing to SIDS since such a position increases the chance of airway blockage.
7. Use of too much or too heavy articles of clothing and beddings can cause smothering as well.
We can only do so much to protect our children from this sinister killer. So instead of facing anxiety daily until our kids turn one-year old, we could instead educate ourselves so that we know what we’re up against.