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Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a seemingly healthy baby less than a year old. SIDS is sometimes known as crib death because the infants often die in their cribs. Although the cause is unknown, it appears that SIDS might be associated with defects in the portion of an infant’s brain that controls breathing and arousal from sleep. Researchers have discovered some factors that might put babies at extra risk. They’ve also identified measures you can take to help protect your child from SIDS. Perhaps the most important is placing your baby on his or her back to sleep.

Symptoms and causes

Causes

A combination of physical and sleep environmental factors can make an infant more vulnerable to SIDS. These factors vary from child to child.

Physical factors

Physical factors associated with SIDS include:

  • Brain defects. Some infants are born with problems that make them more likely to die of SIDS. In many of these babies, the portion of the brain that controls breathing and arousal from sleep hasn’t matured enough to work properly.
  • Low birth weight. Premature birth or being part of a multiple birth increases the likelihood that a baby’s brain hasn’t matured completely, so he or she has less control over such automatic processes as breathing and heart rate.
  • Respiratory infection. Many infants who died of SIDS had recently had a cold, which might contribute to breathing problems.

Sleep environmental factors

The items in a baby’s crib and his or her sleeping position can combine with a baby’s physical problems to increase the risk of SIDS. Examples include:

  • Sleeping on the stomach or side. Babies placed in these positions to sleep might have more difficulty breathing than those placed on their backs.
  • Sleeping on a soft surface. Lying face down on a fluffy comforter, a soft mattress or a waterbed can block an infant’s airway.
  • Sharing a bed. While the risk of SIDS is lowered if an infant sleep in the same room as his or her parents, the risk increases if the baby sleeps in the same bed with parents, siblings or pets.
  • Being too warm while sleeping can increase a baby’s risk of SIDS.

Risk factors

Although sudden infant death syndrome can strike any infant, researchers have identified several factors that might increase a baby’s risk. They include:

  • Boys are slightly more likely to die of SIDS.
  • Infants are most vulnerable between the second and fourth months of life.
  • For reasons that aren’t well-understood, nonwhite infants are more likely to develop SIDS.
  • Family history.Babies who’ve had siblings or cousins die of SIDS are at higher risk of SIDS.
  • Secondhand smoke.Babies who live with smokers have a higher risk of SIDS.
  • Being premature.Both being born early and having a low birth weight increase your baby’s chances of SIDS.

Maternal risk factors

During pregnancy, the mother also affects her baby’s risk of SIDS, especially if she:

  • Is younger than 20
  • Smokes cigarettes
  • Uses drugs or alcohol
  • Has inadequate prenatal care
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Difference between Sterilizing and Dis-infecting

To understand the advantage of steaming over boiling, you must know that steaming leads to sterilization, whereas boiling leads to disinfection only.
Sterilization is the killing or removal of all microorganisms, including bacterial spores which are highly resistant.

Disinfection is the killing of many, but not all microorganisms. It is a process of reduction of number of contaminating organisms, but some organisms and bacterial spores may survive.

Why sterilize your baby’s bottles?
During their initial years of life, babies have immature immune system and are vulnerable to infections by viruses, bacteria and parasites, which can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration. Though, it is not possible to create a totally germ-free environment for your baby, you can certainly reduce the risk of infections by sterilizing baby bottles/breast pumps/utensils/equipment.

Important Points to consider before you start sterilizing:
Use BPA free products – Cheap plastics can contain BPA and other chemicals that when heated, leech through your babies formula or milk and cause endocrine and developmental problems in young children.
Sterilize new bottles – Just because a bottle is new does not make it germ free. Whenever you buy a new bottle or nipple, sterilize it before giving it to your baby.
Washing your baby’s bottles – Before sterilizing, bottles need to be cleaned thoroughly along with the nipples, with soapy water, so that every trace of milk including droplets and mist, is removed. Throw out any nipples with cracks as they may also contain germs.

Sterilizing with electric steam sterilizer
You need to simply pour in water in the given space and plug in your electric steam sterilizer which work by using high temperature steam to kill germs and bacteria on your baby bottle and nipples. Electric baby bottle sterilizers also remove smell from bottles. When placing bottles and nipples in electric sterilizers, be sure that the openings are facing downward to allow steam to sterilize your feeding gear as efficiently as possible. Not just bottles, even breast pumps and weaning cutlery should be sterilized as well. Steam sterilization is quicker, safer and more efficient than boiling.

Sterilizing with microwave steam sterilizer
A microwave steam sterilizer also works by steaming bottles, nipples and usually takes less time than electric steam sterilizer. Simply add water to the microwave steam sterilizer, wash your bottles as usual before half filling each baby bottle with water and place each bottle upright inside the microwave. To sterilize nipples, place them in a microwave safe bowl filled with just enough water to cover them.

Why not boiling?
Boiling does not kill all bacteria and spores. Still if you chose to boil feeding utensils, you need to regularly check your nipples for damage. Boiling water is known to damage baby bottle nipples much quicker than other sterilizing methods. Also if you are not careful, you risk burning yourself too.