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What you should know about Cot Death

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Cot Death (SIDS)
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by Vicky Lumsden

over 80% of cot deaths occur in the first six months
Cot Death or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the biggest single cause of death in infants aged between one week and one year. Despite significant research into the syndrome we still don't know why it happens. It is this unknown that drives fear into the hearts of every new mother. But what do we know about it? And is there anything i can do to help prevent it happening to me? Hopefully this article will answer at least some of your questions.

How common is Cot Death?

In the 1980's cot death occurred in approximately 1 in 500 babies. Thankfully, the rate has gradually decreased and is now approximately 1 in 1,500. This is probably due to the precautions the majority of parents now take which our outlined below.

What happens during Cot Death?

The tragic mystery around Cot Death is that a seemingly healthy baby is put down to sleep but is found dead when later checked on. There is no typical time period from when the baby is put down. In some cases babies have died only a few minutes after being placed in their cot. As the baby dies in it's sleep it is extremely unlikely to feel any pain.

Which babies are most at risk and what can be done to reduce this risk?

Over 80% of cot deaths occur in the first six months with the majority of these between months two and five. Approximately 4% of cases occur after the baby's first birthday. There are nearly twice as many male victims as female. Although the exact reasons for cot death are unknown there measures you can take to help reduce the risk:

- place your baby on it's back

- place you baby with their feet at the foot of the cot
- place your baby's cot in your bedroom or as near to as possible for the first six months
- keep sheets and covers well away from your baby's head
- maintain a cool temperature where your baby sleeps, approx 18 degrees celsius is ideal
- keep your baby's mattress as clean as possible
- don't smoke anywhere near where your baby sleeps
- don't share a bed with your baby for at least the first two months
- don't use duvets, quilts or pillows for at least the first year
- always consult your doctor if your baby appears unwell

Final Thought

Cot death creates enormous fear amongst people not only because it threatens our babies but because we are almost helpless to prevent it. We can try to reduce the chances of it happening but it is ultimately beyond our control. And that is the very reason why you shouldn't spend the first months of motherhood panicking. Remember, it is exceptionally rare so don't let it ruin some of the greatest times if your life.

For more information about this matter visit KeepKidsHealthy.com


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