Now, we'll cover sudden infant
death syndrome, or SIDS.
sudden infant death syndrome is the
unexplained death, usually during sleep,
of a seemingly healthy
baby less than a year old.
It's sometimes known as crib death because
the infants often die in their cribs.
There are some infant risk factors
and maternal risk factors
that contribute to SIDS.
They're more likely to suffer from SIDS.
This happens more often in babies
in the 2nd-4th month of life,
and non-white babies are more likely.
If there's a family history
of a sibling dying of SIDS,
this puts the other siblings
at an increased risk.
Babies who are exposed to secondhand smoke
and babies who are born early are
also at increased risk for SIDS.
Now, there are some maternal risk
factors that also contribute.
If the mother is < 20 years old, if she
smokes cigarettes, uses drugs or alcohol,
or has inadequate prenatal
care, this can contribute.
So what causes SIDS?
Well, we don't really know.
The etiology is unknown.
It's a combination of physical
and sleep environmental factors
that can make an infant
more vulnerable to SIDS.
These factors can vary from child to child.
Here are the physical factors.
We know that babies who have brain
defects, are born at a low birth weight,
and have current respiratory infections
are more likely to suffer from SIDS.
Combine that with some sleep
such as babies who sleep
on their stomach or side,
babies who sleep on a soft surface,
babies who share a bed or co-sleep,
or babies who get too warm and
overheat while they sleep.
You can combine these genetic risk
factors and the maternal risk factors,
and this gives you a vulnerable infant.
These babies have impaired
and this is what controls the
breathing rate and the heart rate.
If the baby's also at an at-risk age
group, remember 2 month-4 month olds,
and you add in some environmental risk
factors, such as their sleep position,
co-sleeping, increased heat, and head covering,
this puts the baby more
likely to suffer from SIDS.
So what's happening during SIDS?
Well, the baby becomes apneic.
They go into respiratory failure.
They completely stop breathing and then
this causes cardiovascular failure.
And when these babies are found,
there's a bit of a paradox.
The baby is observed to be
clean and well-cared for,
and they look like they're in
an excellent state of health,
development, nutrition, and hydration.
Externally, on the post-mortem exam, you
may note moderate amounts of cyanosis.
This is blue discoloration of the skin.
The baby may have a mucoid fluid
in their mouth and nostrils.
This is seen in about 50% of the cases.
And usually, the babies are
found with a soiled diaper.
The baby may have intrathoracic petechiae,
and these are those small,
And those are observed more
consistently in SIDS cases
than in any other cases at this age.
The baby may have pulmonary
congestion and edema,
and inflammation of the upper
respiratory tract because,
remember, upper respiratory
infections increase the risk.
So, how do we diagnose SIDS?
Well, SIDS is the diagnosis of exclusion,
that means we've ruled out other things.
And this combines information
from the post-mortem exam,
assessment of the scene, and interviews
with the parents and caregivers.
So how do we prevent SIDS?
This is all about prevention.
It's key that the baby sleeps alone.
We don't want babies exposed
to secondhand smoke,
and the baby should not have any
pillows, stuffed animals, toys,
or a bumper pad in their
If the baby has a blanket,
it should be tucked in and only
as high as the baby's chest.
The blankets should not be heavy
and they should not be loose.
The crib sheet should be pulled
tightly over the mattress and,
the mattress should be firm.
The baby should be in a safe
infant bed, not too hot,
and always put to sleep on their back.
The foot of the baby should
be to the foot of the bed.