Research has shown that there are several maternal and infant factors which are associated with babies who die from SIDS, although the mechanisms of these risk factors are still poorly understood4.

Not all of these factors are modifiable either; but some are amenable to change and there may be opportunities to educate parents on these opportunistically on attendances to the ED. However, it is important to note that there is no advice that guarantees prevention of SIDS4.

Data from epidemiological studies indicate that the numerous risk factors for SIDS act together to increase or decrease the chance of death. This is known as the “Triple Risk Hypothesis”5:

  1. The infant is vulnerable (e.g. they have a physiological abnormality of some kind)
  2. The infant is at a critical period of development (e.g. the first six months of life, when SIDS is more common)
  3. There is an external factor in action that serves as a physiological stressor to the infant, (e.g. being placed prone to sleep and having their breathing compromised).

Take a few minutes to watch this Safer Sleep For Babies video from the Lullaby Trust and then move onto the SAQ to test your knowledge of Safe Sleep.