Healthy babies die suddenly in sleep without any symptoms. These are SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) can occur in 1 to 100,000 babies. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a condition in which infants under 1 year die suddenly in their sleep, without any prior signs. According to medical experts, SIDS has become the leading cause of death in infants aged 30 days after birth. However, the fact cause of SIDS still being uncertainty. SIDS is often referred to as crib death (infant bed death) and attacks 1 in 100,000 babies, especially ages 2-4 months.
Some assumption of this death is caused by the brain’s ability to control breathing so that when the process of breathing disturbed such as the blanket covers the baby’s nose or mouth, the baby is affected by SIDS. This death generally occurs when the baby is sleeping. Low birth weight is said to be one of the factors that cause SIDS. Babies with low birth weight can be found in premature babies or twins. Babies with this condition usually have immature brain and nerve tissue, so that control of the respiratory system and heart rate is weak.
The normal baby will wake up when something disturbs them during sleep. For example, some things block the airway during sleep, the baby will automatically move parts of his body to a more comfortable place or the baby will wake up. In infants with abnormalities, reflexes that control breathing and wake up from sleep experience disturbances. The baby’s sleeping position on his stomach or tilt tends to cause difficulty of breathing. When the baby is face down, the movement of air in the mouth becomes disturbed due to the narrowing of the airway. Baby’s breath which is blocked by pillows, blankets or objects around the bed also has the potential to cause sudden death.
To avoid sudden infant death, parents must pay attention to several things, especially for infants before 6 months. Babies who sleep one bed with the parents have the risk of being crushed or pinched by a woman’s body. Get the baby to sleep in the supine position, and avoid objects that might disturb the airway, such as pillows, bolsters or blankets. Keep babies away from hazardous materials such as smoke of cigarettes. Keep your baby’s body temperature from overheating by wearing comfortable and not too tight clothes. Also, make sure the temperature of the room is comfortable to keep the baby from overheating.
SIDS has become the leading cause of death in infants especially the babies with 30 days ago. SIDS may occur due to various factors.
- Delay in baby’s development
A hypothesis reveals that SIDS may be caused by a delay or abnormality in the development of nerve cells in the brain that are important for normal heart and lung function. Research in the brains of infants caused by SIDS shows a delay in the development and functioning of several serotonin binding pathways in the brain. Nerve pathways that are important for breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure when you wake up from sleep. This developmental disorder has a negative impact when the baby sleeps.
- Low birth weight
Babies born with low body weight occur in premature babies (birth weight <2500 grams) or in twins. Infants with this increased need have an immature brain, so babies have no control over and heart rate.
- Baby sleeping position
Babies who sleep face down or sleep on their side have difficulty exhaling. When the baby is face down, the air movement in the mouth becomes focused because of the narrowing of the airway. This continues the baby to inhale the carbon dioxide that he just exhaled, so the oxygen level in the baby’s body becomes less, and causing the baby can die. Also, objects on the bed when the baby sleeps, such as pillows, blankets, dolls, or toys can also fight the baby’s mouth and nose, disruption of the baby’s breathing during sleep.
- Hyperthermia (heat)
Too thick baby clothes or over the room temperatures can increase a baby’s metabolism, so the baby can lose breathing control. However, hot temperatures as a cause of SIDS have not been well explained, whether this is a factor that can cause SIDS or just a factor that describes the use of clothes or blankets that block baby’s breathing.
Who is at risk for SIDS?
Babies who are at risk for SIDS are:
- Infants born prematurely (less than 37 weeks)
- Babies who are underweight at birth
- Baby boy. As many as 60% of SIDS-affected babies are male, although there are no studies that prove gender relations with SIDS.
Some tips on how to anticipate SIDS
- Sleep baby on his back, not on his stomach or his side.
- Avoid parents or other people who smoke, both during pregnancy and after the baby is born. Research shows mothers who smoke have babies who are at higher risk of SIDS.
- Give breast milk to babies. Babies who are breastfed have better immunity. Also, exclusively breastfed babies wake up more often to suckle.
- Keep warm conditions to the baby, but avoid overheating. Do not use too thick blankets and a bed cover to cover the baby or as a baby bedding. Do not put a lot of items or toys on the baby’s bed so that they are not dangerous. This is also done to provide adequate air circulation when the baby sleeps. A baby bed with a flat mattress is the safest place. Never put the baby on the sofa, bean bag, waterbed, or air mattress.
Post-SIDS Parental Mental Recovery
The loss of a loved one certainly causes a deep feeling of sadness. This certainly can increase mental pressure on the family left. Some methods are believed to be able to help parents heal their mood after the child has left SIDS. They are:
Parents who lose their child can tell or express feelings to reduce the level of stress, due to this case to close relatives or friends with the same experience.
- Realizing that healing takes time.
No need to worry about feelings of guilt or sadness experienced because, over time, this sense of loss will improve. Growth does require time and process.