Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the death of a child usually between the ages of 1 month to 1 year, and appears to be healthy when laid down to go to sleep and later the child is found dead. Why are our babies dieing from this most deadly and unexplained death? What causes this? How can a mother guard their child from the risks of SIDS?
In a book written by David Stokes titled Misc.Kids/SIDS states that the most frequently asked questions about SIDS are” WHY”? “What did I do wrong to cause this”? It is always thought of that if I would do something different this maybe wouldn’t have happen. SIDS is not your fault. Mothers think that if they would of breastfeed or formula feed their baby this wouldn’t have occurred. SIDS today is just as unexplained as it was better than a hundred years ago and before then too but no-one actually had a name for it. (Stokes 2003) In earlier days and even today it is still called crib death or cot death, they are both known today as sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS. (Stokes 2003)
The research shows that there is no known causes of SIDS but however, there are risk factors that add to the other factors of the child’s life.
Infants actually stop breathing while they sleep: Sleep apnea in infants or adults can be resuscitated. (Brooke 1999) Infants are admitted to the hospital and are put on apnea monitors, but this doesn’t prevent the unpreventable. SIDS today is just as unexplained as it was better than fifty years ago. No one knows what happens, or why it happens. Early 1900’s they called it crib death and still do today. (Bacon 1994)
There are no signs. The infant can be in seemingly good health, smiling, cooing, to the point of just starting to reach for things. The infant is put to bed to sleep and the next thing you know the infant is blue and not breathing. Complete respiratory failure right into cardiac arrest, and nothing can be done to save the baby. (Nager 2005) There appears to be no suffering in most cases the death occurs without any signs or symptoms and happens very quickly, usually during sleep. (Nager 2005)
The American Association of Pediatrics recommend that infants should be placed on their backs. It’s rare for a death of an infant from an aspiration of vomit to occur. (Claudius 2005) It is much more likely to die from SIDS, but not all the physicians are convinced of that. Babies have died sleeping on their sides or the back, only few exceptions of the infant on its back other than SIDS was that of reflux of the infant or a certain type of upper airway malformation such as Robin Syndrome. (Claudius 2005) According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development the incidence of SIDS is greatest in children younger than 6 months and increases in the colder months. (Howard 2005) and more boys than girls.
Some of the potential risk factors of SIDS are as follows:
• Smoking, drinking, or drug use during pregnancy
• Poor prenatal care
• Prematurity or low birth weight
• Mothers younger than 20
• Smoke exposure following birth
• Stomach sleeping
• Unsanitary conditions of house and or infants sleep environment
• Smoking mother that Co-sleeps with her newborn
The answer to crib death, “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome” had nearly disappeared in Japan in 1975 when the first inoculations were not given to any child unless they have reached at least 24 months. (Hattersley1993) Some feebleminded people think that SIDS is caused by immunizations. Even though according to officials at the Health Dept., the baby’s first shots are given between the ages of 2 – 5 months. This is the peak time for SIDS. SIDS victims are still dieing each day with or without the immunizations, and no one know has a clue as to why or what may cause SIDS.
SIDS claims the lives of approximately 3000 infants in the United States each year. Today more children die of SIDS in one year than all the children who die of cancer, heart disease, pneumonia, child abuse, AIDS, cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy combined. (Maindonald 2005)
According to the findings from researchers of infant mortalities, a Dr. Kalokerinos in New South Wales, Australia 1967 reduced the infant deaths by nearly 50 %. (Hattersley 1993) In his research it was determined the great deal of the infant deaths was because of the deficiency in vitamins more precisely ascorbate, a liver metabolite mislabeled Vitamin C. (Hattersley 1993) When this medication was given to the pregnant mothers the mortality rates for the infants dropped dramatically. (Hattersley 1993)
Other research states that there is an abnormality in the infant’s brainstem and this may cause the baby to be susceptible to challenges in their sleep environment, and size of the brain was studied as the conclusion of the tests states that out of 125 infant brains that were studied with SIDS, only 23 had an enlarged brain along with other enlarged organs such as the liver, lungs and heart. They were a little enlarged but this could be because of the lack of oxygen. (Gornall 2005)
SIDS occurs in the second babies, but not all or multiple births, or if there has been SIDS in the family’s medical history. There are no signs or symptoms and SIDS is irreversible, the only thing that we can do is to watch for the risk factors.
SIDS doesn’t happen to the poor, stupid or parents. It happens to parents of all economic, social, educational and racial groups. (Maindonald 2005) Some cultures do not report SIDS deaths or have no way to classify as to what did really happen.
SIDS is not caused by suffocation, vomiting or chocking. SIDS is not contagious or is it hereditary and cannot be passed from generation to generation. (Maindonald 2005)
Because everything about it is so mysterious about SIDS, the parents are treated as criminals. The house is taped off; articles are taken to be tested. This includes bottles, formula, pacifiers, all bedding and blankets. Once an Autopsy has been given, and determined that there was no four play through investigating the death scene is SIDS determined as the cause of death. SIDS is not the result of an untreated illness, and accident or any abuse. (Brooke 1999) SIDS is no one’s fault.
If parents constantly are worrying about the possibility of SIDS and constant checking on the baby will not safeguard the baby from SIDS, It will only serve to exhaust the parents. The few months are to serve as time spent by enjoying this new little wonder in the world to love and watch grow and develop.(Gibbs2003)
Just recognize the facts that when it comes to SIDS it’s no ones fault and you are not alone.
A poem by David Stokes
“When you lose a parent, you lose your past. When you lose a spouse, you lose your present. When you lose a child, you lose your future”.
Bacon, Christopher “Repeat sudden unexpected infant deaths” Lancet, Vol.365, issue 8465: March 26, 2005, p1137 2/3p.
Brooke, Hazel “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome” The American SIDS Institute Monthly Newsletter, 1999, July 1999.
Claudius, Ilene A.Dr., Nager, Alan L. Dr. “The Utility of Safety counseling in a Pediatric Emergency Department.” Pediatrics, Vol.115, issue 4: April 2005, pe423-e427.
Gornall, Jonathan Dr., “Where the real blame lies for the scandal of infants deaths” Times, The United Kingdom, March 30, 2005.
Hattersley, Joseph G., “The Answer to Crib Death”, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, SID, Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Vol.8, Number 4, 1993, pp.229-245.
Howard, Melanie “Are you stressed about SIDS”? Baby talk © Time Inc. 2005 1-4.
Maindonald, Clyse “Helping parents reduce the risk of SIDS Nursing Vol.35, issue 7: July 2005, p50-52,3p.
Stokes, David, Gibbs, Margaret “Frequently asked questions about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome” misc.kids” SIDS Alliance Monthly Newsletter October 31, 2003