A paediatrician at the College of Medicine, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, says babies of pregnant mothers under the age of 20 years have a higher risk of sudden death.
Prof. Adegoke Falade, who is also the Head of the Department of Paediatrics in the hospital, made this disclosure on Monday in Ibadan while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He said: “ Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a seemingly healthy baby less than a year old.
“SIDS is also known as crib death because the infants often die in their cribs; the disease has also been linked with brain abnormalities and respiratory infections.
“The major cause is unknown but SIDS may be associated with abnormalities in the portion of an infant’s brain that controls breathing and arousal from sleep.
“Premature birth or being part of a multiple birth increases the likelihood that a baby’s brain has not matured completely.
“So he or she has less control over such automatic processes as breathing and heart beat rate.”
Falade listed other factors that may cause SIDS to include respiratory infection, placing a baby on its stomach or side, sleeping on a soft surface and sleeping with parents.
According to him, the risk of SIDS is lowered if an infant sleeps in the same room with his or her parents.
“However, the risk increases if the baby sleeps in the same bed with the parents, partly because these soft surfaces impair breathing,’’ he said.
Falade explained that sex of the baby, age, family history and second-hand smoke were also risk factors.
According to him, boys are also more likely to die of SIDS than girls.
He said the condition could be prevented by making the baby crib or cot as bare as possible using a firm mattress and by refraining from placing baby on thick fluffy padding or quilt.
“Don’t over heat baby, use light weight materials and don’t cover the baby’s head.
“ Your baby sleeping in the same room with you is a great idea but adult beds are not good for infants because the baby can become trapped and suffocate,’’ he said. (NAN)