Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, SIDS, is a topic that is very important to me.  I talk about SIDS quite frequently in my teen parenting class because most of the mothers, and the family of the mothers, are extremely uninformed about SIDS and the ways to prevent it.  SIDS rates are high for babies born to teenage mothers.  I talk about all the ways to prevent it including:

·         Placing babies to sleep on their backs (They argue with me, saying their babies sleep better on their stomachs.)
·         Use a firm mattress with no pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, bumper pads, or sleep positioners.  (The girls usually argue with me about the bumper pads.  They think their babies are going to get hurt or stuck in the sides of the crib.)
·         Do not sleep with the baby in the adult bed or couch.  (Many of the girls sleep with their babies anyway.)
·         Don’t over-clothe the baby or let the baby get too warm when sleeping.  Open a window or run a fan when the baby is asleep.
·         Don’t smoke in the house or around the baby.
·         Breast feed
·         Use a pacifier

I talk about the ways to prevent SIDS every time I hear news story about it.  I also make it point to revisit the topic when one of the girls is about to deliver and then again when they come back to school.  I am hoping that maybe I can prevent it from happening to them.

Rates of SIDS in the United States as compared to other countries.
In 2007, SIDS was the 3rd leading cause of death in American Infants with 2,453 cases reported.  You can see from the chart that the cases of SIDS in American have declined since the Back To Sleep campaign was started in 1994.  However, the rate of SIDS is still high in certain ethnic groups.
Chart 2. SIDS Deaths by Race and Ethnicity, 1995–2006
Chart 2. SIDS Deaths by Race and Ethnicity, 1995-2005

The rate of SIDS in the United States is higher than other developed countries. The U.S. ranked 2nd in a study of 13 countries by Fern Hauck and Kawai Tanabe.  The country with highest rate was New Zealand and the lowest were the Netherlands and Japan.  All of the countries experienced a reduction in the number of SIDS deaths after risk reduction campaigns similar the Back to Sleep campaign in the U.S.  However, the rate in the United States may be higher because a cause of death is actively sought for by performing autopsies.   In Japan, only about 1/3 of infant deaths result in an autopsy.
Chart 3. International SIDS Rates, Ordered from Lowest to Highest SIDS Rate in 2005
Chart 3. International SIDS Rates, ordered from lowest to highest SIDS rate in 2005

The information about the rate of SIDS in developing countries is not accurate.  This is due to a high infant mortality rate from identifiable causes of death, such as respiratory infections, malnutrition, and diarrhea.  Health officials are much more focused on preventing these types of deaths.


Myra said...

Thank for that information on
SIDS. I have never know the statistic behind SIDS, and I never thought that Asisan would have a higher rate of death. I have a girl scout group and will inform them of this information.

annette said...

Christine I thank you are doing a wonderful job informing teenage mothers about SIDS. Alot of young mothers really don't know.

Erica McDonald said...

Dear Christine,

I enjoyed reading your post on SIDS. This will come in handy when I get ready for motherhood. I didn't know you couldn't lay infants on their stomachs or sleep with them. Great post, I love your resources.

Cari B said...


I was reading other blogs about SIDS and one mentioned SIDS being a result of scurvy. I had never heard of that before, have you? The information I have heard has been more like the information you presented. hmmmm.