One of the most important aspects to prevent sudden infant death is to prevent the baby from sleeping on his stomach, since there is a greater risk of suffocation.
Sudden infant death is one of the biggest concerns for parents when having a baby. Sudden death itself consists of a cardiac arrest in a person who was apparently healthy or who had no known pathology.
This situation is also called sudden infant death or crib death. These names are due to the fact that it occurs in children under one year of age and generally happens while they sleep in the crib. It is one of the leading causes of death from birth to the first year of life.
Its incidence is estimated to be 1 and 3 per 1000 newborns. Although it is not known exactly why it occurs, scientists have managed to associate it with certain situations, such as position at bedtime. For this reason, in recent years, the number of affected babies has decreased.
This is a very complex and worrying problem. Therefore, in this article we explain everything you need to know about sudden infant death and the main risk factors, so that you can avoid them if you have a baby.
Why does sudden infant death occur?
As we have already mentioned, sudden infant death consists of the death of a baby under one year of age who had not been diagnosed with any disease. At present, we do not yet know why it happens. However, certain factors are known to increase risk.
First, the risk factors for sudden death are certain conditions of the baby himself. For example, premature or low-birth-weight babies have been shown to be at much higher risk for it.
This is so because their organs are not fully mature. Both breathing and heartbeat can fail. The same happens with babies who have some defect in the development of their nervous system.
Any previous respiratory infection can also be a risk factor for sudden death. Many of them do not heal completely and subsequently lead to this complication.
In addition, there are other aspects such as the age and sex of the baby that also influence. It seems that the most critical moment is between 2 and 4 months of life. Likewise, men are more likely to suffer sudden infant death.
On the other hand, it has been observed that certain maternal behaviors may be related, such as smoking. The same is true for other drugs that have been consumed during pregnancy; for example, in the babies of cocaine-addicted mothers.
What is the relationship between sleeping posture and sudden death?
Scientists found that sudden infant death most often affected babies who slept on their stomachs. The same happened with those who slept on their side and ended up turning on themselves during their sleep.
This seems to be related to the fact that, when lying on the stomach, the difficulty in breathing is greater. It is important to make sure that there is nothing that can prevent the air from entering the baby’s airways correctly.
Therefore, it is recommended that babies sleep on their backs. In addition, the ideal is that they sleep in a crib in the same room as one of the parents. Thus, the probability that parents notice some strange noise from the baby is increased.
However, the bed should not be shared with the child. In the same way, you have to watch other aspects, such as temperature. To prevent sudden infant death, it is also recommended to prevent the baby from being at too high a temperature.
What are the general recommendations to avoid it?
In addition to placing the baby on his back at bedtime and monitoring the temperature, there are other measures that can reduce the incidence of sudden death. First of all, it is also recommended that the baby’s bed be firm, since pillows or blankets also carry a risk of suffocation.
On the other hand, it is very important to avoid smoking, either during pregnancy or around the child. The same happens with any other type of drug. It must be borne in mind that alcohol, although it is a legal substance, is also very harmful during pregnancy.
However, the most relevant aspect is to go to the pediatrician frequently. He will carry out permanent examinations on the baby and, in addition, will give the parents a series of simple indications to avoid, as much as possible, sudden infant death.