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What causes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)?

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SIDS is when a baby under age 1 dies suddenly without a clear reason. Because it often happens when a baby is asleep, you might also hear it called crib death or cot death.

Doctors aren’t sure why it happens. But they think some babies have a gene or a change to their genes that causes certain health problems that can lead to SIDS.

Other babies are born with problems in the part of their brain that controls breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and waking from sleep. Some factors, taken together, may raise your baby’s chances for SIDS:

Remember, none of these by itself is enough to cause SIDS.

  • A hidden health problem, like brain defects
  • Being in the first 6 months of life
  • Stress from something like a poor sleep position, secondhand smoke, or a respiratory infection

From: What Is SIDS? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): Definition,” “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): Risk factors.”

Safe to Sleep: “Fast Facts About SIDS,” “Research on Possible Causes of SIDS,” “What Causes SIDS?”

CDC: “Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.”

Kids Health: “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).”

Healthychildren.org: “Reduce the Risk of SIDS & Suffocation.”

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on June 25, 2019

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): Definition,” “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): Risk factors.”

Safe to Sleep: “Fast Facts About SIDS,” “Research on Possible Causes of SIDS,” “What Causes SIDS?”

CDC: “Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.”

Kids Health: “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).”

Healthychildren.org: “Reduce the Risk of SIDS & Suffocation.”

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on June 25, 2019

NEXT QUESTION:

What are risk factors in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)?

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