SIDS, short for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is the sudden, unexpected and unexplainable death of a healthy infant while asleep, thus the reason for its being called also as "crib death". The cause of SIDS is unknown and medical science has not really made any headway in the determination as to the cause of death, much more treatment for this syndrome. SIDS threatens the life of children in their infancy, or those who are less than 1 year old. Most of the cases reported happen when babies are between the ages of two to four months old. Thousands of healthy babies die each year because of SIDS.
An infant’s death is diagnosed only as caused by SIDS if autopsies, examination of medical history and the circumstances surrounding the death of the baby has thoroughly been done and no explanation can be given as to what caused the death.
Although the cause of death is unknown, medical studies show that there are risk factors that should be prevented so as to lessen the risks of SIDS. One of the factors that should be avoided is letting the babies sleep prone. Statistical data show the low prevalence of SIDS in babies who sleep with their backs to the bed. On the other hand, there is a high occurrence of SIDS in babies who lay on their stomachs while sleeping. Furthermore, doctors recommend that the crib be free of pillows, other beddings and stuffed toys so as to prevent suffocation of infants, as they still cannot easily move their heads to make it easier for them to escape these things that might accidentally cover their face and block their breathing.
Another risk factor already identified by medical research is the health and lifestyle of an expectant mother. Expectant mothers are encouraged to stop drinking alcohol, quit smoking and use of drugs, as they do not merely affect the health of babies still in the womb, but will also increase the risk of the incidence of SIDS. Secondhand smoke should also be avoided to minimize the risk of SIDS.
There is no treatment right now for SIDS, but proper prevention will help minimize exposing infants to its risks.