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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) (Nursing)

by Paula Ruedebusch

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    00:01 Now, we'll cover sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.

    00:05 sudden infant death syndrome is the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a seemingly healthy baby less than a year old.

    00:12 It's sometimes known as crib death because the infants often die in their cribs.

    00:16 There are some infant risk factors and maternal risk factors that contribute to SIDS.

    00:21 First, boys.

    00:22 They're more likely to suffer from SIDS.

    00:24 This happens more often in babies in the 2nd-4th month of life, and non-white babies are more likely.

    00:31 If there's a family history of a sibling dying of SIDS, this puts the other siblings at an increased risk.

    00:38 Babies who are exposed to secondhand smoke and babies who are born early are also at increased risk for SIDS.

    00:44 Now, there are some maternal risk factors that also contribute.

    00:47 If the mother is < 20 years old, if she smokes cigarettes, uses drugs or alcohol, or has inadequate prenatal care, this can contribute.

    00:57 So what causes SIDS? Well, we don't really know.

    01:00 The etiology is unknown.

    01:01 It's a combination of physical and sleep environmental factors that can make an infant more vulnerable to SIDS.

    01:07 These factors can vary from child to child.

    01:10 Here are the physical factors.

    01:12 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.

    01:21 Combine that with some sleep environmental factors, 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.

    01:33 You can combine these genetic risk factors and the maternal risk factors, and this gives you a vulnerable infant.

    01:40 These babies have impaired autonomic regulation and this is what controls the breathing rate and the heart rate.

    01:46 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.

    02:02 So what's happening during SIDS? Well, the baby becomes apneic.

    02:06 They go into respiratory failure.

    02:08 They completely stop breathing and then this causes cardiovascular failure.

    02:13 And when these babies are found, there's a bit of a paradox.

    02:16 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.

    02:25 Externally, on the post-mortem exam, you may note moderate amounts of cyanosis.

    02:30 This is blue discoloration of the skin.

    02:32 The baby may have a mucoid fluid in their mouth and nostrils.

    02:35 This is seen in about 50% of the cases.

    02:38 And usually, the babies are found with a soiled diaper.

    02:41 Internal findings.

    02:43 The baby may have intrathoracic petechiae, and these are those small, pinpoint hemorrhages.

    02:47 And those are observed more consistently in SIDS cases than in any other cases at this age.

    02:53 The baby may have pulmonary congestion and edema, and inflammation of the upper respiratory tract because, remember, upper respiratory infections increase the risk.

    03:02 So, how do we diagnose SIDS? Well, SIDS is the diagnosis of exclusion, that means we've ruled out other things.

    03:08 And this combines information from the post-mortem exam, assessment of the scene, and interviews with the parents and caregivers.

    03:16 So how do we prevent SIDS? This is all about prevention.

    03:20 It's key that the baby sleeps alone.

    03:23 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 surrounding environment.

    03:32 If the baby has a blanket, it should be tucked in and only as high as the baby's chest.

    03:38 The blankets should not be heavy and they should not be loose.

    03:41 The crib sheet should be pulled tightly over the mattress and, the mattress should be firm.

    03:47 The baby should be in a safe infant bed, not too hot, and always put to sleep on their back.

    03:54 The foot of the baby should be to the foot of the bed.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) (Nursing) by Paula Ruedebusch is from the course Respiratory Disorders – Pediatric Nursing. It contains the following chapters:

    • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – Fundamentals
    • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – Etiology
    • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – Pathology

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Intrathoracic petechiae
    2. Inflammation of the upper respiratory tract
    3. Soiled diapers
    4. Mucoid fluid in the mouth and nostrils
    5. Pulmonary congestion and edema
    1. Pillows
    2. A firm mattress
    3. Stuffed animals
    4. Heavy blankets
    5. Blankets that are tucked in

    Author of lecture Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) (Nursing)

     Paula Ruedebusch

    Paula Ruedebusch


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