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About Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Essay Example

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Words: 671

Essay

Sudden Infant Death is a devastating and life altering event for any new parents. It occurs without warning and takes the life of a seemingly innocent child. It is yet to be understood, however is diagnosed as infant, who is less than one year old that dies during their sleep without any explainable reason. Even though a great deal of research and effort has focused on SIDS, researchers have not yet been able to identify the cause of the disorder. It is important that parents be aware of SIDS and the best ways to prevent deaths. The purpose of this paper is to explore the time prevalence, causes and tips for preventing SIDS.

Time Of Year SIDS Most Prevalent

A number of false beliefs revolve around the issues of SIDS. It has been said that the only reason for SIDS deaths is because infants are suffocated by their parents, while sleeping in the same bed. While this is a risk factor at any time of the year, research has shown that SIDS is more prevalent in the cold months (NICHD). The thoughts behind the increase in deaths are the fact that parents are more likely to place additional items in the crib or their own bed. This can also include the parents layering the infant’s clothes in hopes of keeping them warm. If the infant overheats they may have more difficulty breathing, which can lead to labored breathing, rebreathing carbon dioxide and ultimately death (Mohana 7). Other factors during this time of year are the placement of blankets or additional sheets that could cover the infant’s face, which would create difficulty in breathing (NICHD). Because a newborn infant is unable to move their head or neck they would be unable to move out from under the blankets.

Causes Of SIDS

Research has been unable to pinpoint a medical condition or issue that leads to the cause of SIDS. Even though the exact cause is unknown, there are a number of theories of what causes SIDS. Some researchers theorize that Sudden Death is caused by developmental delays that are likely caused by birth defects, chemical imbalances or breathing difficulties, which can be caused by infection or disease (Mohana 7). Some of the noted risk factors are the infant’s exposure to cigarette smoke, improper prenatal care, low birth weight and the infants environmental sleep factors (Mayo Clinic). Infection or illness is also said to increase the chances of SIDS, especially when the infant is not treated with appropriate medical care.

Tips For Preventing SIDS

Due to the fact that SIDS is most prevalent in the winter months, October through January, it is recommended that household temperatures be kept comfortable for the parents. This is a good judge of whether or not the baby is at a comfortable temperature. The infant should not be layered in clothing or additional blankets/covers at any time during the year, but especially during the winter months. All sheets and blankets should be tucked under the mattress to prevent the infant from getting underneath. Additional pillows, stuffed animals or other materials should not be placed in the crib with the infant to avoid potentially covering their face (Mayo Clinic). Infants should be placed on their back with their feet at the foot of the crib until they are old enough to move their head and neck comfortably. Smoking should be avoided near the baby to avoid breathing difficulties and decrease the risk of respiratory infection or disease.

In conclusion, SIDS is a devastating disorder that is still medically misunderstood. It is important to educate parents and ensure that they take every precaution possible to avoid death.  Parents should also ensure that they are up to date on research and make use of the many products that are available to assist in the prevention of the disorder.

Works Cited

Mayo Clinic. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Causes. 21 October 2011. Online <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sudden-infant-death-syndrome/DS00145/DSECTION=causes>

Mohana, N. “Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS): cot death.” Internet Journal of Health 5.1 (2006) p. 7

National Institute of Children Health (NICHD). SIDS Facts. 21 October 2011. Online <http://www.nichd.nih.gov/sids/upload/PART_II.pdf>

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