Usually, a parent finds his/her infant dead after putting him/her to bed. Typically, there are no signs of distress or a struggle of any kind and even after a complete autopsy, review of the infant’s clinical history and examination of the death scene, reasons for the sudden and unexpected death remain mysterious (Slonim & Marcucci, 2008). Reports by Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER) indicate that most deaths resulting from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome take place in infants in the age bracket of 2-4 months and that it hardly ever happens before the age of one month or after six months.
The etiology of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is not known. According to Springhouse, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the third leading cause of infants’ death between the age of one month and one year. This incidence is most common during winter and it is higher in infants who sleep on their stomachs or in cribs with soft bedding, infants born in poverty, premature neonates, male infants and those infants whose mothers failed to seek prenatal care until late in the pregnancy. It is also common in one of a single multiple birth infants for instance, twins and triplets and those infants whose mothers take drugs or smoke. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is also considered to be linked with problems in sleep arousal and may result from a defect in the control of ventilation that permits carbon dioxide to upsurge in the blood, thus leading to extended periods of apnea with deep hypoxemia as well as acute cardiac arrhythmias (Kaneshiro, 2010).
Risk factors for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome include poverty, little or no/poor prenatal care, higher parity, single parenthood, maternal smoking and drug abuse during and after pregnancy as well as exposing the baby to second hand smoke. Others include young maternal age, infants who sleep on their stomachs, lower level of maternal education, seasonal distribution with a peak in winter