SIDS on the rise again

Published 2011-10-27 00:00. Updated 2013-11-26 10:29

[NEWS 24 October 2011] After a marked decline following an extensive information campaign in 2006, the number of cases of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is on the rise again, according to a study from Karolinska Institutet. The reason for the increase is believed to be a lack of information for new parents.

Miriam Katz-SalamonPhoto: Ingela Wåhlstrand

Last year, 27 babies died of SIDS, twice as many as four years ago, according to a study from Karolinska Institutet based on statistics from the National Board of Forensic Medicine. The researchers attribute this increase in incidence to a lack of information for new parents on how to mitigate the risk of SIDS. The precautions are simple: to refrain from smoking, to lay the baby on its back in its own bed, and to keep the babys room temperature moderate.

"These figures are so alarming that a new campaign must be launched at once to curb the trend," says Dr Miriam Katz-Salamon, docent of paediatric medicine and respiration physiologist. "We cant sit around waiting for scientific proof of what the increase is due to."

In 1990, 137 babies died of SIDS in Sweden; in 2007, the figure was down at 13, the lowest level to date thanks to a nationwide campaign on the syndrome.

Just what causes SIDS is not yet known, but many studies suggest that the baby suffers apnoea and stops breathing. In most cases, respiration recommences of its own accord, but sometimes the respiratory reflex fails and the baby dies.

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