Obstructive Sleep Apnea and SIDS

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome
According to Carolyn Thiedke, M.D., a national expert on sleep disorders in children, Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS) is thought to affect one to three percent of children. Symptoms include snoring, difficulty breathing, or mouth breathing during sleep. OSAS can be present at any age and may also be accompanied by difficulty with feeding or allergies. OSAS in children may be caused by adenotonsillar hypertrophy , craniofacial abnormalities, obesity and neuromuscular disease. A pediatrician who suspects OSAS, can refer to a sleep specialist who will verify the diagnosis at a pediatric sleep laboratory using nocturnal oximetry and polysomnography.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
This term describes the sudden, unexplained death of an infant younger than one year of age. It has often been referred to as “crib death” because many babies who die of SIDS are found in their cribs. The cause of SIDS is unknown, but most SIDS deaths happen between two months and four months of age.

According to the National Institute for Maternal and Child Health, the top ten ways to reduce the risk of SIDS are:

  1. Always place your baby on his or her back to sleep, for naps and at night. The back sleep position is the safest, and every sleep time counts.
  2. Place your baby on a firm sleep surface, such as on a safety-approved crib mattress, covered by a fitted sheet. Never place your baby to sleep on pillows, quilts, sheepskins, or other soft surfaces.
  3. Keep soft objects, toys, and loose bedding out of your baby’s sleep area. Don’t use pillows, blankets, quilts, sheepskins, and pillow-like crib bumpers in your baby’s sleep area, and keep any other items away from your baby’s face.
  4. Do not allow smoking around your baby. Don’t smoke before or after the birth of your baby, and don’t let others smoke around your baby.
  5. Keep your baby’s sleep area close to, but separate from, where you and others sleep. Your baby should not sleep in a bed or on a couch or armchair with adults or other children, but he can sleep in the same room as you. If you bring the baby into bed with you to breastfeed, put him back in a separate sleep area, such as a bassinet, crib, cradle, or a bedside co-sleeper (infant bed that attaches to an adult bed) when he’s done nursing.
  6. Think about using a clean, dry pacifier when placing your infant down to sleep.
    But don’t force your baby to take a pacifier. (If you are breastfeeding your baby, wait until your child is one month old or is used to breastfeeding before using a pacifier.)
  7. Do not let your baby become overheated during sleep. Dress your baby in light sleep clothing, and keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult.
  8. Avoid products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS. Most have not been tested for effectiveness or safety.
  9. Do not use home monitors to reduce the risk of SIDS. If you have questions about using monitors for other conditions talk to your health care provider.
  10. Reduce the chance that flat spots will develop on your baby’s head as a result of always sleeping on his back. Provide “Tummy Time” when your baby is awake and someone is watching; change the direction that your baby lies in the crib from one week to the next; and avoid too much time in car seats, carriers, and bouncers.

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