Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)


Definition - What does Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) mean?

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the diagnosis assigned to the unexpected death of a child under 1 year of age when no other cause of death can be identified. As its name implies, SIDS usually occurs without warning while the child is sleeping.

In the past, SIDS was sometimes referred to as crib death.

WorkplaceTesting explains Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

The cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is unknown. However, researchers have begun to identify some potential causes as well as physical and environmental conditions that may increase the likelihood of a child dying due to SIDS. One suspected cause of SIDS is a brain abnormality in affected infants that impairs the nervous system's ability to manage sleep. While this suspected defect may not cause infant death in ideal circumstances, researchers believe that when combined with other risk factors in the child's environment or physical condition, death may occur. This theory is referred to as the Triple-Risk Model.

Some of the SIDS risk factors identified by researchers include allowing infants to sleep on their stomachs, or on soft surfaces. Infants may be at risk if they are surrounded by loose bedding or allowed to overheat when sleeping. Exposure to environmental contaminants such as cigarette smoke in utero and after birth may contribute to an infant's SIDS risk as well.

Because the suspected brain abnormality cannot be detected, health professionals encourage parents of infants to limit the remaining risk factors in order to reduce the chances of their child succumbing to SIDS.


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