What Is SIDS

  • SIDS is the number one cause of death of infants under one year of age and strikes more than 2,100 families in the United States each year.
  • More babies die of SIDS in a year than all babies who die of cancer, heart disease, pneumonia, child abuse, AIDS, cystic fibrosis, and muscular dystrophy combined.
  • SIDS is a diagnosis which is made only after a death and when all other possible causes of death have been ruled out by a complete investigation and autopsy.
  • There is no test that predicts which babies will die of SIDS
  • SIDS affects families of all races, religions, and income levels.
  • SIDS occurs during sleep, and strikes without warning.
  • SIDS victims appear to be healthy.

What Causes SIDS?

  • We do yet not know exactly how or why SIDS happens, though it appears that SIDS may be caused by some subtle developmental delay, an anatomical defect or functional failure.
  • Researchers at Harvard and Dartmouth have, in fact, isolated a neurochemical defect in a portion of the brain of SIDS victims that controls the infant’s protective responses to changes in oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.
  • SIDS, like other medical disorders, may eventually have more than one explanation and more than one means of prevention. This may explain why the characteristics of SIDS babies seem so varied.