Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (Encyclopedia of Medicine)
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death without warning of an apparently healthy infant, usually during sleep.
Also known as crib death, SIDS has baffled physicians and parents for years. In the 1990s, advances have been made in preventing the occurrence of SIDS, which killed more than 4, 800 babies in 1992 and 3, 279 infants in 1995. Education programs aimed at encouraging parents and caregivers to place babies on their backs and sides when putting them to bed have helped contribute to a lower mortality rate from SIDS.
In the United States, SIDS strikes one or two infants in every thousand, making it the leading cause of death in newborns. It accounts for about 10% of deaths occurring during the first year of life. SIDS most commonly affects babies between the ages of two months and six months; it almost never strikes infants younger than two weeks of age or older than eight months. Most SIDS deaths occur between midnight and 8 A.M.
Causes and symptoms
Risk factors for SIDS
The exact causes of SIDS are still unknown, although studies have shown that many of the infants had recently been under a doctor's care for a cold or other illness of the upper respiratory tract. Most...
(The entire section is 1676 words.)
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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) (Encyclopedia of Science)
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the term used to describe the sudden and unexplained death of an apparently healthy infant. This unpredictable and unpreventable phenomenon is the leading cause of death in babies less than one year old and strikes infants of all ethnic or economic backgrounds. Several theories exist but none can fully explain it or stop it from happening.
SIDS in history
The sudden death of a baby while sleeping, although tragic, is nothing new. It has a history of at least 2,000 years and is even mentioned in the Bible. In First Kings, the story is told of how King Solomon judged who was the real mother of a surviving child. The child's dead sibling was thought to have "died in the night because she overlaid it." "Overlaying" or the accidental suffocation of an infant by an adult who rolled on the baby while sleeping was for centuries thought to be the only reasonable explanation for an apparently healthy infant going peacefully to sleep and never waking up. In ancient Egypt, a mother who was judged to be responsible for doing this was sentenced to hold the dead infant for three days and nights. The first known medical textbook written during the second century A.D. by Greek physician Soranus of Ephesus instructs mothers and wet-nurses (female servants who were nursing or breast feeding their own child and who also would nurse the baby of their...
(The entire section is 1479 words.)
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (Encyclopedia of Children's Health)
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden, unexpected death of a seemingly normal, healthy infant under one year of age that remains unexplained after a thorough postmortem investigation, including an autopsy and a review of the case history.
SIDS is a defined medical disorder that is listed in the International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision (ICD-9). The first published research about sudden infant death appeared in the mid-nineteenth century. Since then, researchers and healthcare providers have struggled to define the syndrome and determine its causes. The key characteristics of SIDS include:
- infant less than one year of age
- infant seemingly healthy (no preceding symptoms)
- complete investigation fails to find a cause of death
- no associated child abuse or illness
In the United States, SIDS was the third leading cause of postneonatal deaths (those occurring between the ages of 28 days and one year) in 2001. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 2,234 infants in the United...
(The entire section is 2509 words.)
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) (Encyclopedia of Public Health)
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) was defined in the United States in 1989 by a conference of the National Institute of Health as the sudden death of an infant under one year of age that remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and a review of the clinical history. Most cases occur between three weeks and six months of age. The cause of SIDS is, by definition, unknown. One current theory is that ineffective respiration may cause the infant to stop breathing. Placing infants on their back when they sleep reduces the incidence of SIDS by approximately 30 to 40 percent. A number of factors increase the incidence of SIDS. These include (1) the use of waterbeds and soft bedding; (2) sleeping on the stomach; (3) infants born of mothers who smoke or use drugs; (4) young, unmarried mothers of low socioeconomic status; (5) male infants; and (6) prematurity and low birth weight. There is no genetic cause of SIDS, and immunizations do not cause SIDS. An autopsy must be performed to exclude abuse, injury, infection, or metabolic disease. These diagnoses remove the cases from the SIDS category.
MARVIN S. PLATT
(SEE ALSO: Child Mortality; Perinatology)
DiMaio, D. J., and DiMaio, V. J. (1993). Forensic Pathology. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Hauck, F. R., and Hunt, C. E. (2000). "Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in 2000." Current Problems in Pediatrics 30:23768.
Spitz, W. U. (1993). Medicolegal Investigation of Death, 3rd edition. Springfield, MA: Charles C. Thomas.