Whilst incidences of cot death, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) as it is officially known, have dropped dramatically over the past ten years, SIDS still claims the lives of up to 45 New Zealand babies each year.
SIDS is the name given to all sudden deaths of otherwise healthy babies, that is not attributed to any other illness of disease. Babies who die from SIDS are usually healthy babies, and in most cases an autopsy is unable to determine a specific cause of death. As a result, the causes of SIDS remain a mystery, however much research has been done, and continues to be done, and the number of babies who die from SIDS is continuing to drop as more and more risk factors are identified and addressed.
The most common age for SIDS to strike is between 2-4 months of age, although it can occur any time. SIDS rarely affects infants under one month of age, or over six months of age.
Some babies are at higher risk than others, and there are precautions you can take to keep your baby safe when he or she is sleeping.
Babies at higher risk of SIDS include:
You can help to protect your baby from SIDS.
There are also a variety of products designed to help protect against SIDS, ranging from baby monitors and cradle alarms, to sleep wraps and sleeping bags that stop your baby rolling over in his or her sleep. For more information about these products talk to your midwife, Plunket Nurse, or local baby goods retailer.
Most importantly, trust your judgement as a parent. If you feel that something is not right with your baby, take him/her to the doctor.