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Sudden infant death is an unknown topic that worries parents a lot. Here we will talk about measures that can be taken to prevent it.
Sudden infant death is the unexplained death of children under one year of age. The cause is not well known, and there is no specific treatment. Typically, it is unpredictable. That is why it is a topic that worries parents a lot. In this article, we are going to talk about the sudden death of the infant, and we will discuss if it is possible to take any measures to avoid it.
WHAT IS SUDDEN INFANT DEATH?
The sudden death of the infant is the sudden death of a baby less than one-year-old. It occurs, apparently,while the child is asleep.
There is no medical explanation, after studying the environment in which it occurred, the history of the newborn, and the autopsy of the baby.
It is believed that the physiological cause of sudden death is the immaturity of the baby’s brain. Specifically, the area that controls breathing and sleep. This immaturity makes the child unable to wake up reflexively in the absence of oxygen.
On ordinary occasions, when the body detects a lack of oxygen, it sends signals for the child to wake up and cry. With crying, the baby receives the oxygen he needs again. In these cases, the brain would not send that signal, and the child would not wake up, decreasing the amount of oxygen in his body.
1. Which are the risk factors?
Although, as already mentioned, the real cause of sudden death is not established, certain situations have been identified in which it is most likely to occur.
The most important of the risk factors are for the baby to sleep on his stomach. This is why the Spanish Association of Pediatrics recommends laying the newborn on his back. Some other risk factors are:
Male sex of the child.
The premature baby has low birth.
The child has trouble drinking liquids or food, or with some facial malformation.
Newborn has suffered a respiratory or gastrointestinal infection in the previous days.
Some history in the family can relate to sudden death.
Smoking mother has pregnancy and after childbirth.
Heat in the room or excessive clotting of the baby.
Share bed with parents.
2. Can sudden death be prevented?
Since paediatricians began recommending the baby to lie on his back, the number of sudden deaths has dramatically decreased. As we have said, sleeping on your stomach is the leading risk factor, so ensuring that the baby remains on his back, we improve his breathing and his safety.
There are other measures that parents can take to decrease the risk of sudden death in their babies. Some of them are:
Go to prenatal care at the health centre. Regular baby check-ups are essential to detect possible health problems.
Ensure adequate nutrition of the mother. It is also essential that the mother avoid tobacco and the use of other drugs. Both aspects are crucial both during pregnancy and once the baby is born.
Prevent the baby from staying in places with tobacco smoke.
Lay the newborn on a flat and firm mattress. Too soft mattresses increase the risk of sudden death.
It is advised that baby sleep in the same room as the parents without sharing a bed with them. Thus, parents can better monitor the child.
Avoid excessive heat of the baby, either in the environment or by too many clothes or blankets.
Breastfeeding is considered a protective factor of sudden death.
Sudden infant death remains a complex issue that we don’t know much. However, the application of these measures recommended by the Spanish Association of Pediatrics has made the number of them decrease considerably.
Parents must receive an excellent education regarding the birth of the baby or in the preparation courses. It is also very relevant that both the child and the mother go to their medical check-ups.