Although SIDS can occur at any age before 12 months, it is most common when an infant is between 1–4 months old. SIDS is less common after an infant is 8 months old, but a person should still take precautions to reduce the risk.
When can you stop worrying about SIDS? It's important to take SIDS seriously throughout your baby's first year of life. That said, the older she gets, the more her risk will drop. Most SIDS cases occur before 4 months, and the vast majority happen before 6 months.
The study population was aged 2 weeks through 2 years of age; 16 deaths occurred among toddlers between the ages of 52 and 103 weeks, that were classified as “definitely” or “probably” SIDS (the investigators used 103 weeks as the upper age limit for SIDS deaths).
Other things that SIDS is not: 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.
Experts believe SIDS occurs at a particular stage in a baby's development and that it affects babies vulnerable to certain environmental stresses. This vulnerability may be caused by being born prematurely or having a low birthweight, or because of other reasons that have not been identified yet.
SIDS is most common at 2-4 months of age when the cardiorespiratory system of all infants is in rapid transition and therefore unstable. So, all infants in this age range are at risk for dysfunction of neurological control of breathing.
Sucking on a pacifier requires forward positioning of the tongue, thus decreasing this risk of oropharyngeal obstruction. The influence of pacifier use on sleep position may also contribute to its apparent protective effect against SIDS.
Stomach sleeping - This is probably the most significant risk factor, and sleeping on the stomach is associated with a higher incidence of SIDS.
However, it can happen wherever your baby is sleeping, such as when in a pushchair or even in your arms. It can also happen sometimes when your baby isn't sleeping – some babies have died in the middle of a feed.
The results found that running a fan in a sleeping infant's room lowered the risk for SIDS by 72 percent. That risk was lowered even further when the infant's sleeping conditions put him or her at higher risk for SIDS, such as sleeping in a warm room or sleeping on the stomach.
Babies who are breastfed or are fed expressed breastmilk are at lower risk for SIDS compared with babies who were never fed breastmilk. According to research, the longer you exclusively breastfeed your baby (meaning not supplementing with formula or solid food), the lower his or her risk of SIDS.
Myth: If parents sleep with their babies in the same bed, they will hear any problems and be able to prevent them from happening. Fact: Because SIDS occurs with no warning or symptoms, it is unlikely that any adult will hear a problem and prevent SIDS from occurring.
Swaddling Reduces SIDS and Suffocation Risk
This extremely low SIDS rate suggests that wrapping may actually help prevent SIDS and suffocation. Australian doctors also found that swaddled babies (sleeping on the back) were 1/3 less likely to die from SIDS, and a New Zealand study found a similar benefit.
Goodstein said, when babies sleep in the same room as their parents, the background sounds or stirrings prevent very deep sleep and that helps keeps the babies safe. Room sharing also makes breast-feeding easier, which is protective against SIDS.
Infants are sensitive to extremes in temperature and cannot regulate their body temperatures well. Studies have shown that multiple layers or heavy clothing, heavy blankets, and warm room temperatures increase SIDS risk.
Very young babies who sleep too deeply for long periods of time are at greater risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Babies will wake less often at night as they get older.
Even so, the risk of SIDS can be greatly reduced. Most important: Babies younger than 1 year old should be placed on their backs to sleep — never on their stomachs or on their sides. Sleeping on the stomach or side increases the risk for SIDS.
A new system that involves the five S's — swaddling, side/stomach positioning in the parents' arms, shushing, swinging, and sucking — can calm most crying infants, Dr. Karp said. This activates the baby's calming reflex during the first three to four months of life by mimicking experiences in the uterus.
Babies that are too cold will not exert the energy it takes to cry, and may be uninterested in feeding. Their energy is being consumed by trying to stay warm. A baby that is dangerously chilled will have cold hands and feet and even baby's chest will be cold under his or her clothes.
Always Place Baby on His or Her Back To Sleep, for Naps and at Night, To Reduce the Risk of SIDS. The back sleep position is the safest position for all babies, until they are 1 year old.
White noise reduces the risk of SIDS.
We DO know that white noise reduces active sleep (which is the sleep state where SIDS is most likely to occur).
Results: The majority of SIDS deaths (83%) occurred during night-time sleep, although this was often after midnight and at least four SIDS deaths occurred during every hour of the day.
Infants at the age when SIDS occurs quite frequently spend most of their sleep in a stage known as rapid eye movement or REM sleep. This sleep stage is characterized by the dysregulation of various mechanosensory airway and chemosensory autonomous reflexes that are critical for survival (18, 19).