2023 Author: Anita Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-22 03:30
The leading cause of death for Canadian infants aged 28 days to one year, sudden infant death syndrome is probably the fear of all parents.
October is awareness month for this phenomenon and, in collaboration with Femmessanante.ca, here is information to prevent it.
The first year of life is a time of rapid growth and development. This is also when babies are vulnerable to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). SIDS can affect any family, regardless of race, religion, or financial situation. Formerly called crib death, SIDS occurs during sleep and strikes without warning. According to He alth Canada, SIDS is responsible for the death of at least three babies per week in the country. It is the leading cause of death for Canadian infants aged 28 days to one year.
Although the number of cases of SIDS is decreasing in Canada, this phenomenon remains a serious concern. “The decline in infant mortality from SIDS coincides with the creation of awareness programs describing risk factors and promoting safer infant care practices,” says Dr. MichaelDunn, head of the department of developmental pediatrics at Sunnybrook and Women's College He alth Sciences Center. Awareness campaigns have historically led to a decline in the number of deaths from SIDS, particularly due to efforts to encourage people to put their babies to sleep on their backs.
Are some babies more at risk than others?
Yes. Some risk factors are preventable, while others are not. At a workshop on SIDS risk reduction held in 1993, experts presented data showing that infants who habitually slept on their stomachs (prone position, pronation) were at greater risk of SIDS than babies who slept on their backs or on their sides. Statistics also indicate that MSN strikes more frequently during the winter. The number of deaths would also be higher among infants whose mothers smoked during pregnancy and afterwards. The younger the mother, the higher the risk of SIDS. Boys are more at risk than girls, and SIDS most often strikes when the baby is two to four months old. In fact, 90 percent of all SIDS victims are under six months old. There is also a higher risk in twins, multiple births, children born prematurely, as well as those with low birth weight.
What can parents do to reduce the risk?
Currently, awareness campaigns describe several measurespractices parents can take to reduce the risk to their child.
The sleeping position
“Data that has emerged over the past few years shows that babies who sleep on their backs are at the lowest risk of SIDS,” reads the joint statement on SIDS. Therefore, the Canadian Pediatric Association recommends that he althy infants be placed on their backs at night and during naps and that they sleep on a firm, flat surface. Many mothers worry that their baby will choke when lying on their back. "The risk of choking does not appear to be higher in babies who sleep on their backs," said Dr. Michael Dunn, chief of developmental pediatrics at Sunnybrook and Women's College He alth Sciences Centre. "There is no data to suggest that placing a baby on their back increases the risk of death from suffocation." In the past, it was believed that laying a baby on their side offered a “reasonable” and safer alternative to the prone position. However, Dr. Dunn argues that this practice is less effective than the supine position in reducing the risk of SIDS. “If lying on its side, the infant may turn in one direction or the other before falling asleep or during sleep. The risk is therefore 50/50 that he ends up on his stomach, which would increase the risk of SIDS”, to warn the doctor.
Dressing your baby for sleep
Babies need warmth, but not too much. "If the temperature in the room feels comfortable to you, it's likely to suit your baby too," says Dr. Dunn. Research data suggests that excessive heat (too much clothing, heavy bedding, overheated room) may increase the risk of SIDS. According to the Canadian Perinatal Surveillance System, a division created by He alth Canada's Office of Reproductive and Child He alth, overheating is indeed a risk factor. However, “covering the infant, and more particularly the head, could play a more decisive role than the heat itself”. Ensuring that babies are warm is a major concern in hospitals, hence the importance of the little hats they are made to wear. However, "when the baby leaves for home, it's the heat retention and not the heat loss that we're concerned about," argues Dr. Dunn.
If you're worried about your baby getting cold at night, know that depending on the season, a sleeper or light pajamas may be all they need to stay comfortable. During the winter months, be sure to remove your baby's hat and outerwear when indoors, in a car or in the store to prevent overheating. And don't forget to limit the number of layers of clothing and blankets when the temperature is milder.
Bed sharingis it safe?
Sharing a bed is common practice in many families. However, according to Dr. Dunn, this practice can increase the risk of overheating and choking. If the parents are smokers or if their reaction time is slowed by fatigue or drug or alcohol abuse, sharing a bed with their baby could increase the risk of SIDS. Unlike cribs, whose design must comply with safety standards, adult beds are not designed to ensure the safety of infants.
There is therefore a risk that the baby rushes into the sheets and accidentally suffocates. According to the joint statement on SIDS, there is no evidence to suggest that sharing a bed with a parent or sibling reduces the risk of SIDS for infants. However, some studies indicate that sharing a room may provide some level of safety and facilitate breastfeeding.
“Once the chain of events leading to SIDS is set in motion, evidence suggests that interventions aimed at aborting the process are largely ineffective,” says Dr. Dunn. We are aware of several cases where appropriate and rapid methods of resuscitation have failed, even when the baby was under observation at the time of the initial respiratory arrest. » Apnea monitors designed for home use have an alarm that goes off when there is an interruptionof breathing. “These electronic devices can be useful for monitoring a child with a known respiratory abnormality,” says Dr. Dunn. However, there is no evidence to suggest that this type of monitor helps prevent SIDS. Nevertheless, some families insist on using these devices, especially if MSN has already taken a child away from them. “While we offer our support to families who make this choice, we signal to them that there is a price to pay. These alarms activate inappropriately and it can be difficult to find babysitters. This often constitutes a considerable disruption of family life that parents must accept. »
Some of these strategies are described in a joint statement made by the Canadian Foundation for the Study of Infant Mortality, the Canadian Institute of Child He alth, the Canadian Pediatrics Association and He alth Canada. The latter is referred to as the “joint statement on SIDS” in the following material.