SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)

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SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)

Of all the fears associated with early parenthood, none is greater than the possibility of an infant's unexplainable and sudden death. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) poses such a threat to seemingly healthy babies of all socio-economic and racial backgrounds under one year old. Officially defined and named at a 1969 international conference on causes of sudden death in infants, SIDS has been a political and medical controversy ever since. Although researchers had linked a lower risk of SIDS to babies sleeping on their backs and a higher risk of SIDS to babies exposed to second-hand smoke, by the late 1990s researchers were still uncertain of SIDS' cause(s). SIDS was the leading cause of post-natal mortality from 1980-1994. Heightening the fears surrounding SIDS, controversy rose in late 1997 as an article in Pediatrics stated that some SIDS attributed deaths are caused by child abuse and, in 1998, when a large German study associated SIDS with CMV virus, which is common in AIDS patients. As the millennium came to a close, many unanswered questions and innumerable theories surrounded SIDS, which continued to cause grief.

—tova stabin

Further Reading:

Bergman, A. B., J. B. Beckwith, and C. G. Ray, editors. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Causes of Sudden Death in Infants. Seattle, University of Washington Press, 1970.

Guntheroth, Warren G. Crib Death: The Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, 3rd ed. Armonk, New York, Futura Publishing, 1995.

Journal of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Infant Mortality. New York, Plenum Press, 1996.