What Is SIDS?
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden death of an infant younger than 1 year of age that remains unexplained after a thorough case 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 corner might leave the cause of death as “unknown”. These deaths are called SUID (pronounced Soo-id), which stands for “Sudden Unexpected Infant Death.
•SIDS is the leading cause of death among babies between 1 month and 1 year of age.
• Most SIDS deaths occur when babies are between 1 month and 4 months of age.
• 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 time frame when the baby is sleeping. Cribs themselves don't cause SIDS, but the baby's sleep environment can influence sleep-related causes of death.
SIDS is not...
• SIDS is not the cause of every sudden infant death.
• SIDS is not the same as suffocation and is not caused by suffocation.
• SIDS is not caused by vaccines, immunizations, or shots.
• SIDS is not contagious.
• SIDS is not the result of neglect or child abuse.
• SIDS is not caused by cribs.
• SIDS is not caused by vomiting or choking.
• SIDS is not completely preventable, but there are ways to reduce the risk.
What causes SIDS?...
Honestly, we do not know. We don’t know exactly what causes SIDS at this time. Scientists and health care providers are working very hard to find the cause or causes of SIDS. If we know the cause or causes, someday we might be able to prevent SIDS from happening at all. More and more research evidence suggests that infants who die from SIDS are born with brain abnormalities or defects. These defects are typically found within a network of nerve cells that send signals to other nerve cells. The cells are located in the part of the brain that probably controls breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and waking from sleep. At the present time, there is no way to identify babies who have these abnormalities, but researchers are working to develop specific screening tests. But scientists believe that brain defects alone may not be enough to cause a SIDS death. Evidence suggests that other events must also occur for an infant to die from SIDS. Even though the exact cause of SIDS is unknown, there are ways to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Safe to Sleep Public Education Campaign
WAC 170-300-0291: Infant and toddler safe sleep practices.
3,500 babies die each year in the U.S.
In deaths where a public health nurse talked with affected families, over half of these babies were
sleeping with an adult or child.
*Traditional drop-side cribs cannot be made or sold; immobilizers and repair kits are not allowed.
Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly-announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.
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