What is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Or Cot Death Syndrome? Here Are Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors And More

Cot Death Risk Age Range: What is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome?

Tavishi Dogra
Written by: Tavishi DograUpdated at: Jun 09, 2020 17:19 IST
What is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Or Cot Death Syndrome? Here Are Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors And More

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What is SIDS? SIDS stands for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. This name is given to the condition when a perfectly healthy baby dies without any apparent reason. This is most likely to happen in the first three months of the baby's birth. We do not know the causes of SIDS, but we do know about the factors that can increase the risk of it. SIDS is also commonly referred to as cot death. But this term gives the misleading impression that infants are affected only by sleeping in cots. SIDS can affect your baby sleeping anywhere. Read more about this in detail, as well as learn how to protect your baby from the risks associated with SIDS.

How common is sudden infant death syndrome?

Fortunately, sudden infant death syndrome is rare, and India has fewer cases of cot death than many other countries, including many developed countries. (P.S. Nobody knows the real reason for this). The good thing is that there has been a decline in cases of cot death worldwide due to increased awareness about the right postures for sleeping. However, in many countries, even today, death is the leading cause of death among infants between two and six months of age.

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Why do babies have SIDS?


Nobody knows why some babies die. This can include many reasons, which affect some infants in the susceptible phase of their development. Experts believe that some children have a problem in that part of the brain, which controls the breathing, heart rate and wakefulness. When these babies are under stress, such as excessive heat or covering the mouth or nose with a bed, pillow, or any other bed, they cannot control their heart rate, breath and temperature, as other babies do.

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When does Sudden Infant Death Syndrome occur?

SIDS most commonly occurs when the infant is believed to be sleeping. This is often possible at night but can occur at any time of the day, such as at bedtime. It can be in cot, pram or even in parents' lap. SIDS is more common in the winter season and increases its probability, especially in the colder months. This is probably because the constrictions increase at this time of the year. This may also be because parents use extra sheet-blankets or they run heaters in the room when it is freezing outside at night.

Which kids are most at risk of SIDS?

  • SIDS occurs in the first six months, the risk being highest at the age of two to three months. As your baby grows, the risk of cot death also decreases. There are very few cases of cot death in infants older than one year of age.
  • The SIDS rate is the highest among infants whose mothers were less than 20 years old at the time of their birth. This may not only be due to age but also due to lifestyle and living conditions. Therefore, it is crucial to know how to sleep your baby safely, especially if you are a young mother.
  • There are other reasons for increasing the risk of SIDS, which cannot be changed or affected. For example, we know that this is more often with sons than with daughters. This may be due to differences in hormones and how the son's brain reacts to that of daughters.
  • The risk of SIDS is higher in premature babies (before 37 weeks) and low birth weight babies (weighing less than 2.5 kg). However, if your baby is born prematurely or is underweight at birth, it is natural for you to be worried, but remember that SIDS is rare. Most infants spend the first six months of their life without any problems.

Read More in Newborn Care