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WHAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW

Facts About Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Many more children die of SIDS in a year than all who die of cancer, heart disease, pneumonia, child abuse, AIDS, cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy combined . . .

What is SIDS?

bullet Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a medical term that describes the sudden death of an infant which remains unexplained after all known and possible causes have been carefully ruled out through autopsy, death scene investigation, and review of the medical history. SIDS is responsible for more deaths than any other cause in childhood for babies one month to one year of age, claiming 150,000 victims in the United States in this generation alone - 7,000 babies each year -nearly one baby every hour of every day. It strikes families of all races, ethnic and socioeconomic origins without warning; neither parent nor physician can predict that something is going wrong. In fact, most SIDS victims appear healthy prior to death.

What Causes SIDS?

bullet While there are still no adequate medical explanations for SIDS deaths, current theories include: (1) stress in a normal baby, caused by infection or other factors; (2) a birth defect; (3) failure to develop; and/or (4) a critical period when all babies are especially vulnerable, such as a time of rapid growth.
bullet Many new studies have been launched to learn how and why SIDS occurs. Scientists are exploring the development and function of the nervous system, the brain, the heart, breathing and sleep patterns, body chemical balances, autopsy findings, and environmental factors. It is likely that SIDS, like many other medical disorders, will eventually have more than one explanation.

Can SIDS Be Prevented?

bullet No, not yet. But, some recent studies have begun to isolate several risk factors which, though not causes of SIDS in and of themselves, may play a role in some cases. We share this information with you in the interest of providing parents with the latest medical evidence from research in the U.S. and other countries in the hope of giving your baby the best possible chance to thrive. (It is important that, since the causes of SIDS remain unknown, SIDS parents refrain from concluding that their child care practices may have caused their baby's death.)

Where Can You Turn for SIDS Information and Support?

The Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Network, Inc. is a not-for-profit, voluntary health agency dedicated to;

bullet eliminate Sudden Infant Death Syndrome through the support of SIDS research projects,
bullet provide support for those who have been touched by the tragedy of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and
bullet raise public awareness of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome through education.

Some Basic Facts about SIDS:

bullet SIDS is a definite medical entity and is the major cause of death in infants after the first month of life.
bullet SIDS claims the lives of over 7,000 American babies each year ...nearly one baby every hour of every day.
bullet SIDS victims appear to be healthy prior to death.
bullet Currently, SIDS cannot be predicted or prevented, even by a physician.
bullet There appears to be no suffering; death occurs very rapidly, usually during sleep.

What SIDS is Not:

bullet SIDS is not caused by external suffocation.
bullet SIDS is not caused by vomiting and choking.
bullet SIDS is not contagious.
bullet SIDS does not cause pain or suffering in the infant.
bullet SIDS cannot be predicted.
bullet SIDS is not new. It is referenced in the Old Testament (1 Kings 3:19).

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