Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
There are about 2,500 babies who die each year from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS.
Balintfy: There are about 2,500 babies who die each year from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS.
Willinger: It turns out that there appears to be a rise in the incidence of SIDS in the winter months, compared to the rest of the year.
Balintfy: Dr. Marion Willinger is the special assistant for SIDS at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Willinger: We know that back sleeping significantly reduces the risk of SIDS.
Balintfy: Dr. Willinger explains that SIDS is defined as the sudden death of an infant less than one year of age that is unexplained after a full death investigation.
Willinger: The most well-established risk factor for SIDS is a baby sleeping on their stomach or a baby sleeping on their side because side is a very unstable position and they're at greater risk of rolling to their stomach. So one of the best preventive strategies and best documented strategy we have is for babies to be placed sleep on their back, during all sleep periods. That includes night and nap time, and by all care providers, daycare providers, babysitters, grandparents, parents. So we recommend that strongly and since back sleeping has become the norm in the United States, the SIDS rates have been dropped by half. So it's a very powerful intervention. It's an intervention that's been successful all around the world.
Balintfy: Dr. Willinger says other risk factors include soft bedding, and overheating, especially in winter months.
Willinger: The other thing in the winter months that happens is people take their kids outside and they put on the snowsuit and everything else. When you come back inside and it's not cold, as cold inside as it outside, and the baby is asleep, you've just taken the baby for a walk, you want to make sure that you remove the warm clothing. Take the hat off the head because the head is where babies exchanges heat. And if you keep that head covered then they're not able to exchange their heat and release the heat. So you want to take hat off, unzip the snowsuit, ideally take them out of the warm clothing while they're sleeping.
Balintfy: Much more information about SIDS is available at www.nichd.nih.gov/sids or toll free at 1-800-370-2943. This is Joe Balintfy, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Joe Balintfy
Sound Bite: Dr. Marion Willinger