Sudden Infant Death Syndrome - most commonly known as SIDS - is the leading cause of infant deaths within the United States. Researchers have learned a lot in the last forty years about SIDS, but do not know what causes the disorder or how to completely prevent it. Also known as crib death, SIDS occurs most often during the night, between 8:00 PM and 8:00 AM.
It can also happen while an infant is in daycare, with fifteen to twenty percent of SIDS-related deaths occurring in a childcare facility. With no real cause to the disorder, researchers continue to study the brain, autonomic nervous system, immune system, genetics, and infant sleep environments and care to discover what the exact causes may be.
What Is SIDS?
SIDS is a medical diagnosis given to a child under a year old who dies suddenly and without an identifiable cause. This can occur without warning at any time, particularly when an infant is sleeping, which makes SIDS incredibly difficult for a family to endure. In the United States, SIDS is the leading cause of death for infants between the ages of one month and one year old, with ninety percent of infant deaths involving babies younger than six months old. Approximately 1,600 infants die per year from SIDS, and according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), another 900 infants die from accidental strangulation or suffocation while sleeping. In addition to these fatalities, another 1,200 babies die while sleeping for unknown reasons.