State review board aiming to raise awareness on SIDS

The State Child Death Review Board Office of Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline is raising awareness of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, a condition that turned the experience of childbirth into tragedy last year for some Kansas parents.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden, unexpected death of an apparently healthy infant under the age of one year of age that remains unexplained after the performance of a complete postmortem investigation, including an autopsy, an examination of the scene of death and a review of case history.

According to State Child Death Review Board, in 2002 none of the SIDS deaths were deemed preventable. The majority (97 percent) of SIDS deaths in 2002 occurred in the first six months of life.

While SIDS occurs in all socio-economic, racial and ethnic groups, African American and Native American babies are two to three times more likely to die of SIDS than Caucasian babies.

At this time there is no known way to prevent SIDS in all cases, but there are steps parents and caregivers can take to reduce the risk of sudden infant death:

— Place your baby to sleep on his or her back at nap time and at night

— Do not let anyone smoke around your baby or be in a room where someone has recently smoked.

— Use a safety-approved crib with a firm, tight fitting mattress.

— Remove all soft bedding and toys, including blankets, bumpers and positioners.

— Use a wearable blanket to replace loose blankets in your baby’s crib.

— Do not put your baby to sleep on any soft surface, such as sofas, chairs, waterbeds, quilts and sheepskins.

— Room sharing is safer than bed sharing.

— Do not dress your baby too warmly for sleep; keep room temperature at 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

— Educate relatives, babysitters and other caregivers about these important safety tips.

A new baby is a wonderful addition to the family. By taking these simple steps parents can reduce the likelihood that their child will become another victim of SIDS.

The SCDRB is a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency board that examines the circumstances surrounding the deaths of all Kansas children (birth through 17 years of age) and children who are not Kansas residents, but who die in the state.

The goals of the SCDRB are to describe the trends and patterns of child deaths in Kansas, to develop prevention strategies, and to improve sources of data and communication among agencies so that recommendations can be made.

For more information visit the SCDRB Web site at Divisions/SCDRB/cdrb.htm or contact Wayne Stith, executive director, at 785-296-2215.

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